Thursday, December 13, 2018

“The Night Crossing” by Robert Masello – Beyond the Shroud of Evil

The Night Crossing by Robert Masello (Book cover)
Robert Masello has never shied away from using the immense potential of his imagination to mix fact and fiction, two realms he is intimately familiar with.

In The Night Crossing , he does precisely that as he brings to us a fictionalized telling of Bram Stoker's life, expanding on the man far beyond his immortal novel.

A frustrated writer, he becomes drawn into a web of intrigue surrounding a safe haven founded by the wealthy elite, harbouring a dark and terrible secret, an ancient evil Stoker must confront lest thousands of lives are lost forever.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

“The Storyteller's Secret” by Sejal Badani – In the Wake of the Fall

The Storyteller's Secret by Sejal Badani (Book cover)
Sejal Badani has made a veritable splash in the world of literature with a sensational debut out of nowhere, and her second novel titled The Storyteller's Secret carries in the same vein.

It tells the story of Jaya, a New York journalist who, in the wake of her third miscarriage, decides to travel to India and rekindle with her culture.

In the process, she comes to learn about the incredible story of her grandmother through the words of the old family servant, embarking us on a tale of hopeful love and tragic struggle during the British occupation of India.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Interview with Nina Romano – Inexhaustible Inspirations

While there are a few careers where it is possible to learn everything there is to, authorship fall as far from this category as humanly possible.

Virtually every single author, whether they've written a hundred novels or a hundred words, will admit they always have more to learn and new horizons to explore... it's a never-ending journey towards knowledge.

Though Nina Romano definitely doesn't hold all the answers, she has been walking on this path since her early years and possesses a certain aptitude which can only come through time and experience: she understands herself within the context of her work better than most others.

In our interview with her, we discuss her methodology as an author, how she approaches the writing of a book, and the many milestones she has traversed in her literary life.

Monday, October 29, 2018

“Pronto” by Elmore Leonard – The Sins of the Accountant

Pronto by Elmore Leonard (Book cover)
Elmore Leonard has time and time again surpassed himself and entertained the masses in his long and storied career, and his novel Pronto, like many others, illustrated his many qualities to near-perfection.

The story follows U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens as he races against the Miami mob and a Sicilian hitman to find a runaway bookie hiding away somewhere in Italy... a bookie who already escaped him once before.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

“City of Endless Night” by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child – The Headless of the Metropolis

City of Endless Night by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Book cover))
Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child combine forces once again to create City of Endless Night. In this investigative mystery we embark on a hunt for a serial killer whose first strike was directed at the reckless daughter of a wealthy tech billionaire.

Lieutenant Vincent D'Agosta is on the case, but little does he suspect, this is the one case which will push him over the edge and have him face a foe with much more profound motivations than he could suspect.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

“Where Are They?” by Steven Lazaroff and Mark Rodger – The Search for Spacial Kindred

Where Are They? by Steven Lazaroff and Mark Rodger (Book cover)
Steven Lazaroff and Mark Rodger certainly take the exploration of alien life and what it might entail far beyond most other authors in their non-fiction book titled Where Are They?

Obsessed with the possibility of visitors from the great beyond ever since lights appeared in the night sky before our ancestors, humanity has made many curious practical, theoretical and philosophical advancements in this sphere.

Lazaroff and Rodger attempt to bring us the sum of this knowledge and explore both sides of the argument as to whether or not we might encounter alien life forms.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

“My Dear Hamilton” by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie - A Woman of the Revolution

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie (Book cover)

Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie have established themselves as a powerhouse in historical literature, demonstrating a real knack for the ability to deliver accurate facts in entertaining fashion.

In their latest joint adventure, titled My Dear Hamilton, they explore the storied biography of a woman often overshadowed by history, Eliza Schuyler Hamilton, wife to founding father Alexander Hamilton.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

“Gunpowder Moon” by David Pedreira – The First Lunar Murder

Gunpowder Moon by David Pedreira (Book cover)

David Pedreira begins his foray into the realm of literature with great aspirations, unravelling the webs of treachery behind the first murder of a man in outer space in his first novel, Gunpowder Moon.

We are taken to visit a future where Earth's survival depends on lunar helium, one where the chief of U.S. mining operations finds himself racing against the clock when one of his workers is killed by a bomb. Whether on Earth or beyond the skies, the evil men do thrives onwards.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

“In America” by Nina Romano – The Great Depression of Dreams

In America by Nina Romano (book cover)

Nina Romano has taken us travelling through the tunnels of time and love in the first two books of her Wayfarer Trilogy, and with the third one titled In America, the time has come to conclude the series.

We are taken to 1920s Brooklyn where Marcella Scimenti, daughter of Giacomo, chases her dream of being a singer in Hollywood, all while growing out of her shell and butting heads with love in the most unexpected ways. Supported by her big Italian family, the headstrong Marcella is about to learn what real life is all about.

Monday, August 20, 2018

“Dreaming At the Top of My Lungs” by Israel Finn – Brief Pictures of Horror

Dreaming At the Top of My Lungs by Israel Finn (Book cover)
Israel Finn has won the 80th Annual Writer's Digest Short Story Competition with his collection titled Dreaming At the Top of My Lungs, containing within twelve dark short stories.

Ranging from a woman being on trial in a world where telling the truth is a crime to a man who finds himself in a surreal nightmare after losing his son, these stories aim to prod the human soul from all possible directions and take us on a journey in the profound recesses of human nature.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

“Lemon Blossoms” by Nina Romano – Nothing More Precious than Family

Lemon Blossoms by Nina Romano (Book cover)
Nina Romano has begun the Wayfarer Trilogy with her first book touching on the subject of star-crossed lovers and cultural differences.

In this second chapter of the series, titled Lemon Blossoms, we are presented with a girl by the name of Angelica Domenico whose early life is characterized by her faith-based upbringing.

As she confines herself within the arms of seclusion and dedication to her religion, a certain Italian man by the name of Giacomo Scimenti enters her family shop and changes her life forever.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

“The Woman in the Woods” by John Connolly – From the Belly of the Beast

The Woman in the Woods by John Connolly (Book cover)
John Connolly never ceases to deliver thrills and chills in his wide range of mysteries and detective stories, returning to helm his ship the best way he knows with his new novel The Woman in the Woods.

The sixteenth book in the Charlie Parker series, it follows the private investigator as he is hired to shadow a police investigation into the recently-discovered, half-preserved body of a woman in the woods, bearing all signs of having given birth shortly before her demise.

Though the child doesn't know it, all sorts of parties are out looking for him... even a dead woman.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

“The Secret Language of Women” by Nina Romano – Daggers in the Heart of Fate

The Secret Language of Women by Nina Romano (Book cover)
While love isn't something we can ever hope to truly understand, there are wiser folk such as Nina Romano who might be a bit closer to the truth by virtue of their life experience.

In The Secret Language of Women she puts all of it to good use as she kicks off the Wayfarer Trilogy, transporting us to the very end of the 19th century in China.

We are introduced to a Eurasian healer and an Italian sailor whose love for each other is consistently thwarted by the chains of duty and fate amidst the violent Boxer Rebellion.

Friday, July 20, 2018

“The Glass Forest” by Cynthia Swanson – Threnody for a Marriage

The Glass Forest by Cynthia Swanson (Book cover)
Cynthia Swanson has always had an amazing superpower as a writer: the capacity to delve profoundly into the minds of her extremely complex characters and base the story around their unravelling.

In The Glass Forest we are treated to this sort of scenario as we follow a recently-married couple, Paul and Angie, who find themselves having to take care of the husband's seventeen-year-old enigmatic niece after her father commits suicide and her mother vanishes.

As the trio isolate themselves in a modern house on the edge of the woods some uncomfortable secrets begin floating to the surface, forcing Angie to question much of her own existence.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

“A Casualty of War” by Charles Todd - Scars of the Mind

A Casualty of War by Charles Todd (Book cover)
Charles Todd, the pen name by which a mother and son writing team go, have written quite a number of novels revolving around the First World War, and Casualty of War is yet another to add to that last, this time being part of the Bess Crawford Mysteries.

In this one, we follow Bess, a British Army nurse, as she witnesses first-hand the profound and everlasting effects the war has on people through the path walked by a certain Captain Alan Travis who insists his cousin shot him twice.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

“Another Woman's Husband” by Gill Paul – A Tragic Spotlight for Women

Another Woman's Husband by Gill Paul (Book cover)

Gill Paul's Tale of Betrayal and Friendship

Princess Diana is one of the few figures in modern history found fascinating all around the globe. Today, what most people remember about the woman is her tragic ending as well as the controversy surrounding it... even to this day the question hangs in the air as to what really happened in that car crash, and how accidental it was in the first place.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

“Operator Down” by Brad Taylor - The Nuclear Anti-Democracy Party

Operator Down by Brad Taylor (Book cover)

Brad Taylor has delivered excitement in spades time and time again with his spy thrillers, and in Operator Down he returns to the fore, once again thrusting the former special forces officer Logan Pike into the heart of mayhem.

In his search for a Mossad agent, Pike stumbles into something much more sinister involving nuclear weapon sales and a giant conspiracy to topple a democratic African country.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

“Fraulein M.” by Caroline Woods – The Immense Weight of Family Roots

Fraulein M. by Caroline Woods (Book cover)
Caroline Woods may not be a famous author yet, but nothing has stopped her for writing an ambitious and far-reaching family drama titled Fraulein M.

It opens by taking us to 1930s Berlin, where two sisters are raised in a Catholic orphanage and find themselves trying to navigate the equally grandiose and terrifying waters of Nazi Germany.

Fast forward almost forty years in the future, and we are presented with a woman in South Carolina who is determined to learn more about her family's history following the death of her father... a secretive history, tracing its roots all the way back to the Third Reich.

Monday, June 11, 2018

“The Wonderful World of Bernies” by Bernard M. Patten – The Emergence of a Genius

The Wonderful World of Bernies by Bernard M. Patten (Book cover)
Bernard M. Patten is today known as one of the foremost medical experts on the planet, being the leading specialist on Myasthenia Gravis as well as part of the team of physicians who discovered the current treatment for Parkinson's disease.

However, just like every other person on Earth, his life began just like every other one: in total ignorance. After many years of teaching, experimenting and learning, he has decided it was time to write his autobiography telling the whole story from his earliest chaotic days, and he titled it The Wonderful World of Bernies.

Saturday, June 09, 2018

“The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence” by Alyssa Palombo – Passion Immortalized

The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence” by Alyssa Palombo (Book cover)
Alyssa Palombo is certainly carving a place for herself in the historical romance genre, with her second novel, The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence, transporting us back to the lush and passionate streets of 15th century Italy.

We follow the story of a certain Simonetta Cattaneo, about to marry a young, handsome and well-educated man which in turn plunges her into the circle of people surrounding the Medici family, all wealthy and important. She catches the eye of many people, but none see the beauty in her like a young painter, Sandro Botticelli.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

“Robicheaux” by James Lee Burke – Grasping Hands from the Darkness

Robicheaux by James Lee Burke (Book cover)
James Lee Burke has done a great service to the world of literature when he gave birth to the Dave Robicheaux series, the scarred and damaged investigator trying to stay afloat amidst a sea of demons, personal and otherwise.

In Robicheaux, the titular character returns to the gritty backwoods of Louisiana to investigate a murder involving the man who killed Dave's wife.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

“Love and Other Consolation Prizes” by Jamie Ford – Raffled into a Pilgrimage

Jamie Ford Digs up Forgotten History

America's history may be relatively short when compared to most other countries in the world, but it is already full of small pockets in danger of being forgotten by our records. While some would argue it best to sweep things under the rug, I feel most of us agree a country should own up to its history, no matter how grim it might be, so the same errors do not repeat themselves. In an attempt to remind us of the tragedies we've forgotten, some authors have taken it upon themselves to shine light on subjects hitting close to home, and it's precisely what Jamie Ford did with his numerous writings centred on Asian-Americans during the 19th and early 20th centuries, including Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and Song of Willow Frost. We'll be exploring another one of his acclaimed novels revolving around the subject, titled Love and Other Consolation Prizes , centred on a Chinese boy with a most peculiar destiny.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

“Blood of the Four” by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon – An Odyssey of Gods and Slaves

Blood of the Four by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon (Book cover)

Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon United

The idea of co-authorship is in itself a fine practice, often allowing lesser-known authors to make their talents known by collaborating with established figures. Unfortunately, in many cases proficient authors sink into complacency and essentially allow their partners to do all the work for them, being content with merely slapping their names on the cover and drawing the profits from it. There are times however when a partnership between authors gives rise to something great, a work that exceeds what either could have achieved on their own and pulling them in a direction neither have really considered. I'd say that Blood of the Four would fall under this umbrella, written in cooperation by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon, two deeply respected and skilled authors in their own rights.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

“Knight's Shadow” by Sebastien de Castell – The Homeland Under Siege

Revisiting the Epic World with Sebastien de Castell

Fantasy is understandably one of the most common genres authors tend to gravitate towards, presenting them with a blank canvas with innumerable paints at their disposal, a world of infinite possibilities and equally numerous tropes and conventions. There are some who seek to bravely reinvent the wheel, while others such as Sebastien de Castell prefer to mostly work within the boundaries of what has already been achieved in an attempt to weave breathtaking stories banking on a whole lot more than mere novelty. In the first book of The Greatcoats series, de Castell established an epic and marvellous universe for his fantastic adventures, and thankfully it was only the beginning as we get to explore it in greater depth in the second book titled Knight's Shadow.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

“House of Spies” by Daniel Silva – Destroyer of the West

House of Spies by Daniel Silva (Book cover)

Daniel Silva's Legendary Spy Returns

A great deal of authors have made a name for themselves writing thriller series centred on one character, taking them from one worldly location to the next as the books expand further and further. Unfortunately, for many of these writers the quality of the series begins to dip exponentially once they get far enough to run out of ideas, and ultimately fans consider only the first few books worthy of attention. It's a fate that befell far too many people, but Daniel Silva has managed to avoid it with grace and dignity as he published the seventeenth book in the Gabriel Allon series titled House of Spies, without losing a single step from his earlier days. For those unfamiliar with him, Gabriel Allon is an Israeli master spy as well as an art restorer (even heroes need hobbies) whose life essentially consists of stopping an endless stream of terrorists from destroying the world.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

"Mississippi Blood" by Greg Iles – Beneath the Veil of the Deep South

Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles (Book cover)

Into Cruel Territory with Greg Iles

The United States might officially be a single entity, but one could make the argument the divisions between its various subcultures are so pronounced the country is in fact composed from a few smaller countries roughly-slapped together.

The difference in the people's mentalities and customs are quite noticeable from coast to coast and border to border, and I believe it's fair to say the Deep South is certainly one of more interesting microcosms on this continent.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

“The Gift” by Louise Jensen – The Balance of Life and Death

Exploring a Cycle of Mysteries with Louise Jensen

Organ donation is the kind of topic most of us are going to ignore until either something very interesting happens in that world, or it begins to concern us directly. However, if we stop to think about it just for a little bit, it must be an incredibly bizarre experience to be living with someone else's organ beating inside of you, especially if the donor in question had to be dead to make that happen. The cycle of life and death is a curious one, and organ donation (or recycling, if you will) only adds to the strangeness of the whole affair. For authors such as Louise Jensen, it can set the perfect stage for a gripping and unsettling thriller mystery, as it did for her novel The Gift.

“Points of Impact” by Marko Kloos – The Critical Turning Point

Marko Kloos Turns the Tables

In the previous books of the Frontlines series by Marko Kloos we were presented with a vast and long-standing conflict between Earth and a race of alien invaders known as the Lankies. Despite the enemy's technological superiority, earthlings managed to hold on by a thread and have slowed the invasion to a screeching halt. However, they aren't exactly out of the woods yet as the great conquerors are looming above them and have still a considerable amount of fight left in them. The struggle between humans and warring aliens is one that has come back time and time again throughout science-fiction literature, and there are seemingly a million different outcomes to this sort of scenario. In some of them mankind prevails, but in many others it gets obliterated, assimilated or enslaved... in the sixth novel of the series, titled Points of Impact , we get to witness the turning point of a critical stalemate.

"Two Nights" by Kathy Reichs – A Life Buried Deep

Kathy Reichs' Ode to the Lonely

The scars we bear, both physical and psychological, ultimately shape us more than we would ever like or care to admit. We live our lives in accordance with the things we want to avoid, with the knowledge that tremendous pain and suffering not only exist, but can only be staved off rather than circumvented. Many people who end up living lonely lives have been hurt and scarred in some ways, enough to make them lose faith in the world around them. In Kathy Reich's Two Nights we are presented with just such a heroine, named Sunday Night.

“Dark Network” by James McCrone – An Election of Spies and Traitors

James McCrone and the Sanctity of Balloting

While countless critics of the United States election system will always be present, and generally not without reason, there are few out there who would deny the sanctity of the voting process itself, the tremendous importance it has in determining a country's future. It shouldn't come as a surprise that some people have been found guilty of voter fraud, risking their life in freedom to give their favourite candidate an ever-slighter chance of winning the election. The extremes people can go to in order to decide on the future of an entire nation have no limits, and as we see it in Dark Network by James McCrone, the second book in the Imogen Trager trilogy, the line separating friend from enemy is razor-thin in that atmosphere.

“Awakening Macbeth” by Carmen Amato – Staking a Soul

Awakening Macbeth by Carmen Amato (Book cover)

Carmen Amato's Historical Nightmare

Books can contain within them anything ranging from the tamest and most hopeful words to the darkest and vilest accounts of human behaviour imaginable. When we open the pages of a book and begin to invest ourselves in it, we are invariably affected by what we read, and each bit of information we absorb will influence is in one way or another. At the end of the day though, we have the power of closing the book and moving on to something else, dissociating ourselves from whatever disconcerting information we may have acquired. Unfortunately, in Carmen Amato's Awakening Macbeth, that is not an option for University of Virginia professor Brodie Macbeth.

“Phenomena” by Annie Jacobsen – The Top Secret U.S. Telepathy Program

Into the Extra-Sensory Perception Tunnel with Annie Jacobsen

Coined by Frederic W. H. Myers all the way back in 1882, telepathy is a concept which involves the transference of ideas from one person to another without using any sort of physical interaction... in other words, mind-reading. Many experiments were conducted since then in an attempt to prove the concept truthful, but ultimately none of the ones yielding positive results were remotely in line with standards by which reputable scientific trials abide by; they lacked proper control and weren't repeatable. Long story short, no real evidence exists to suggest telepathy to be anything more than fantasy, but that of course hasn't stopped us from believing in it... or more precisely, it hasn't prevented the U.S. government from pouring innumerable funds to research it across multiple decades. In her book titled Phenomena, Annie Jacobsen chronicles the government's research program into what is essentially the paranormal.