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Thrillers Of The Month - April 2013
This month featuring
- The Mortal Religion by Marc Horn
- The Stonecutter by Camilla Lackberg, published by Simon & Schuster
- In Many Ways by Peter Carroll
- Hostile Witness by Rebecca Forster
- Furies by DL Johnstone
- The Mercy Project by Jeffrey Royer
- Hunted by Jaycee Clark, published by Beyond The Page Publishing
We are always open to new submissions from authors/publishers – click here
|The Mortal Religion by Marc Horn|
|Review by Helen Hayes
Moonface, the brooding protagonist of this dark and disturbing thriller meets a pretty young girl in a bar. ridiculed by her and her friend, something inside Moonface finally snaps. Bullied and tormented since his schooldays Moonface seems destined to live his life in solitude, on the edge of a society he so desperately wants to understand.
He kidnaps the girl, Elizabeth, justified in his belief that only change can induce change and driven by his desire for the less fortunate among us to be treated as equals. Moonface has a plan, he intends to re-educate mankind, starting with his first project; Elizabeth.
Elizabeth is subjected to a humiliating and degrading existence as Moonface attempts to break her spirit. After a sustained period of systematic punishment, described in chilling and intricate detail by Horn, Elizabeth finally submits to his brainwashing. As Elizabeth begins to respond to his indoctrination and her feelings towards him change, they discuss society’s evils and the ways that – together – they can right these wrongs. While Moonface struggles with his emotions and to suppress his growing sexual urges, you are party to the disturbing and at times uncomfortable detail of Moonface’s inner struggle with his own twisted morality.
As events spiral and he begins to lose his self-control, Moonface becomes haunted by flashbacks and of his old adversary – Victor Spinney – the most spiteful of the bullies that ruined his childhood. In a subplot that really draws you in, Moonface encounters his nemesis now living on the streets, and can’t resist revealing his pivotal role in Victor’s downfall. But bringing a vengeful Victor back into his life has dangerous consequences for Moonface and Elizabeth, which lead to the sickening and shocking creation of The Mortal Religion, a concept Moonface is certain will save mankind.
This is a dark psychological thriller focusing on the effects of social exclusion. It is not a book for the squeamish nor the feint hearted, and some of the scenes did take me by surprise and shocked – in places it is graphic, uncomfortable and disturbing. But it is also a story reflective of our time and one that stays with you and, at times, it might just touch a nerve.
Rating: A disturbing psychological thriller that focusing on the effects of social exclusion and how society reacts to those on the perimeter.
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|The Stonecutter by Camilla Lackberg|
|Review by Leslie Gardner
I read an earlier book by Lackberg, and found it schematic and thin – but something has changed, and I found what I discover is the third book in her Fjallbacka series to be an excellent, rich and sure novel, utterly engaging. I could not put it down.
The theme of mothers and children, adults and the young, betrayals and revenge, and how early life effects a family community is played out in all directions, touching intimately the lives of Patrik and Erica, our central figures in the series – the lead policeman and his girl friend, and their new baby.
The universal appeal of Lackberg’s novels is clearly established in the very knowing way she presents experiences we all have: living with partners, intuiting something’s wrong, familiar yet unexpected events occurring that can overwhelm us – all the things that crime novels demonstrate to us our lives are not except in extremis. Lackberg deploys family resentments and problems from mental health to adultery, forgiveness and religious rigidity with tremendous ambition and aplomb. There are the familiar topos of jealous colleagues, and inept superiors too, so we know we are in the right genre. slow in starting up, suddenly everything speeds up to the climax.
In this impressive story we follow two parallel streams: a woman’s life from the past, and a story of child molestations and murder in the present and watch how they join up. Lackberg uses the wise ploy of letting us figure it out sometimes ahead of the police. We know the answers Patrik and his colleagues cannot determine, and we watch with pleasure as they figure it out too – but there are still surprises for us. what i also like is that we are not cheated; there are no red herrings, nothing feels contrived.
I cannot recommend this highly enough – it will afford great satisfaction for any reader.
Rating: Great satisfaction for any reader!
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|In Many Ways by Peter Carroll|
|Review by Paul Morris
Following in the resurgence of all things Scottish and following firmly in the footsteps of the pioneers of ‘Tartan Noir’ trail blazed by Iain Rankin and his erstwhile detective John Rebus, Peter Carroll takes us away from the prim and proper streets of the capital Edinburgh and takes us instead to the mean streets of Glasgow.
Much akin to the TV series Taggart this book takes us into the gritty and violent world and one young man’s introduction to the risky but financially lucrative world of drug-dealing. Having served his apprenticeship as a street level dope pedlar, he soon gains the attention of the city ‘Big Man’ and swiftly moves up the ranks.
A simple story good poor guy made rich bad? Or does he have a hidden agenda? Recommended and riveting reading from a relatively new author.
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|Hostile Witness by Rebecca Forster|
|Review by Wendy Cartmell
I particularly like finding new authors and Rebecca Forster is a new author to me, yet clearly a very successful writer, with 25 books under her belt. Hostile Witness is the first in the Witness series, featuring Josie Bates, a lawyer, volleyball player and champion of the underdog. She is suitably flawed, after having successfully defended a guilty woman, who later went on to kill her own children. As you can image there is plenty of angst about that! As a result Josie moved to a quiet backwater and gives up high profile legal cases.
Forster writes with a sure and skilful pen, weaving her murder mystery around an old friend, Linda Rayburn, who wants Josie to defend her daughter Hannah. Hannah is charged with arson and the murder of her step-grandfather, a Supreme Court Judge. She has OCD problems and her mother and step-father want her committed and effectively out of the way.
I particularly liked the way Forster successfully shows us her characters, through dialogue and personal traits. She is skilled at showing tension, anger and righteous indignation. The pace was excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed the drama and growing relationship between Josie Bates and Hannah. I look forward to reading other books in the series.
Rating: A highly recommended legal e-thriller.
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|Furies by DL Johnstone|
|Review by Leslie Gardener (AND Paul Morris below)
Opening the book, I was worried by the glossaries but I read them conscientiously: names, places and details of Alexandrine religious precepts; how would I recall them?
But, soon I realised I could relax: I was being looked after by the ingenious writer of this thriller. And, actually, those lists enhanced the experience, and only sometimes did I need to look something up – and, then, mostly because I was intrigued.
Using ideas of the time that yet seem all too familiar: betrayals, dodgy business partners, dirty politicians, faithless loves couched in this earlier terrain, Johnstone tells a story of murders and cultish Dionysian and sophistic practice, following the attractive if sometimes naive Aculeo who got into doldrums by relying on old friendships and risking colleagues’ monies and trust, to find the culprits. And they are extraordinary beings: we are lead into levels of society from highest priestly cults and brothels, to lowest life taverns and slave life.
In pursuit of his story, Johnstone has Aculeo charge off with reckless speed, and often on basis of vague evidence and a certain amount of coincidence. But we do not even notice the contrivance much; women are pivotal from the haughty wife who takes his child back home to papa when he fails, to glittering and powerful courtesans and powerful healers. But all need their coin. Thugs come at him and his friends from all sides – and he miraculously withstands much physical violence. Despite their humanity, the women are often guileful but we sense the writer is sensitive to their impossible historical position in this society, and he bends the plot and our sympathies to take this on board. When Aculeo is let down by a woman, like the courtesan Calisto, and then supported by a waif with surprising strengths, we are too. The plot is intricate, and the murders proliferate through a seedy and lawless Rome where leaders are corrupt and/or ignorant.
People weave in and out of the vast metropolis pretty easily, and sometimes it strains credibility when they manage to find each other. But, I’d say, we let it slide since we are focussed on what’s going to happen next. Overall, there is a good feeling of camaraderie and decency among these people as they debate who has wronged who, and some enticing philosophical explanations that fit in well. The writing is adept and allusive. There are others in this series that I will look out for.
Review by Paul Morris:
Set in the seamy Egyptian city of Alexandria during the times of ancient Rome this sword and sandals conspiracy thriller sees the lead character loses his wealth and family after staking his toga on two convoys of ships which are lost at sea. Or were they?
After a chance encounter with one of the supposed dead crew in the city he picks up the thread of a conspiracy that brings him into contact with the higher echelons of the city’s rulers from who he has fallen out of favour. Accompanied by a motley crew of fellow travellers, who were caught up in his financial web of disaster he starts out to ‘follow the money’ and maybe redeem his reputation.
As if losing his family and villa weren’t enough there’s a killer on the loose committing ritual murders. Could they be connected? A tense historical thriller that pulls the reader along. from a writer with an eye for rich historical detail and robust writing.
Rating: A tense historical thriller that pulls the reader along
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|The Mercy Project by Jeffrey Royer|
|Review by Paul Morris
In the age of Obama Care and constant arguments over who pays for healthcare in the ‘land of the free’ what price is the cost of a human life?
After seeing his father die a lingering death, a powerful US Senator gives the go ahead to a top secret project that secretly euthanises people suffering from terminal illnesses giving them an apparently swift and peaceful death, and saving the government a few dollars on medical expenses.
But having opened the proverbial Pandora’s Box the consequences of his actions soon come home to roost with disastrous consequences. A tense and original thriller that raises some serious ethical questions whilst also giving top notch entertainment.
Rating: A tense and original thriller
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|Hunted by Jaycee Clark|
|Review by Ronda L Caudill
Hunted by Jaycee Clark is a wonderfully written novel. The story line is dark and very suspenseful. This novel draws the reader in right away and doesn’t loosen its grip until the last page. If you are faint of heart or are looking for a sappy romance this book is definitely not for you. If you are adventurous and don’t mind some realistic terror then you must definitely read this novel.
Morgan the main character is forced to endure so much anguish and torture. But she is a survivor. The leading man, Lincoln, saves her in more ways than one. He himself has been dealt misfortune and really relates to Morgan and her situation.
All of the characters are well developed. Morgan and Lincoln are amazing. The support characters are also wonderful. Even the villain is so defined and well developed. Jaycee gave insight into the worlds of all of the characters.
This is truly a work of art. I look forward to reading more novels by Jaycee Clark.
Rating: This book deserves 5+ stars and I highly recommend it.
Where To Buy: