Novel release: The Unlikely Occultist: A biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey

I am delighted to announce The Unlikely Occultist: A biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey, will be released by Creativia Publishing on December 4th! I will be writing a lot more about the story behind this novel in the coming weeks, and how it came to me to write it. Meanwhile, here is the cover.

Alice A. Bailey

About The Unlikely Occultist

Librarian Heather Brown discovers the fascinating life of Alice Bailey – a long forgotten occultist.

Back in 1931, Alice is preparing to give a speech at a Swiss summer school. But how can she stave the tide of hatred and greed set to bring the world to its knees?

Soon after, Alice is put on Hitler’s blacklist. What she doesn’t realize is the enormity of her influence on the world, and the real enemies who are much closer than she thinks.

A dynamic and complex figure, Alice Bailey’s reach was huge. She was influential among people and organizations of global power, especially the United Nations, and is widely regarded as the Mother of the New Age.

Yet today she is maligned by fundamentalist Christians, Theosophists, Jews, academics, and above all by conspiracy theorists. Are any of these groups justified in rejecting the unlikely occultist?

The Unlikely Occultist is available on Amazon VIEWBOOK.AT/OCCULTIST

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Cover reveal and pre-orders of Clarissa’s Warning

Clarissa's Warning

I am delighted to announce Creativia publishing will be releasing Clarissa’s Warning on November 30th. 

Clarissa’s Warning is a haunted-house mystery set on the desert island idyll of Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain.

The cover blurb

A lottery jackpot changes Claire Bennett’s life.

She buys an ancient stone ruin on the island of her dreams. Her mystic aunt Clarissa warns her of danger, but Claire pays no heed.

Soon after moving to the idyllic island, Claire is confronted by a mystery. As the sinister story of her home slowly uncovers, Claire enters a world of inexplicable events and ordeals. Someone or something doesn’t want her there.

But is it really a curse, or is there something else behind the events?

Clarissa’s Warning is available for pre-order at Amazon. viewbook.at/ClarissaWarning

Book review: A Very Mersey Murder by Brian L. Porter

I am delighted to share my review of A Very Mersey Murder (Mersey Murder Mysteries Book 5) by Brian L. Porter

Brian L. Porter

About A Very Mersey Murder

1966. England wins the soccer World Cup. Same night, the body of a barmaid is discovered close to an abandoned lighthouse. Two more murders follow; all remain unsolved.

2005. D.I. Andy Ross is called in when a disturbingly similar series of murders begins in the same location.

If their estimates are correct, Ross and his team have one week to solve the case before the next Lighthouse Murder takes place.

In A Very Mersey Murder, D.I. Ross and Sergeant Izzie Drake return in a race against time, as they seek to identify and apprehend the vicious killer who seems to leave no clues, and no evidence.

The price of failure is death.

This is a standalone novel, and can be enjoyed even if you haven’t read other books in the series.

My thoughts

It can be a tricky task reviewing Book Five in a series, but I am new to Brian L. Porter’s writing and dived straight into his latest release. A Very Mersey Murder really is a stand alone, the author providing a useful catch up which is brief enough not to drag on the present story, while giving plenty of context. A tricky task for any author and Porter does it well, although I now feel compelled to start back at Book One!

The novel opens with a chilling scene of a murder that took place back in 1966. What unfolds is a gripping murder mystery set in the present as D.I. Andy Ross and his team try to prevent the murder of one of their own, which, if their predictions are correct, will take place in just one week. It is a set up that cannot fail to hit the mark for crime fiction fans!

Porter’s plotting and pacing are excellent. There are plenty of twists and turns. Just when you think you have it all figured out, you are thrown back into doubt. The author knows when to hold back and when to dish it when it comes to the gory details and he evokes a strong setting that puts the reader in amongst the action.

All of Porter’s characters are well-rounded and believable. A Very Mersey Murder has plenty of texture, too, as the various relationships between the police team play out, as well as the stories of the lives of those affected by the murders. I especially enjoyed the inclusion of excerpts from the killer’s own journal.

All good crime tackles pithy social issues, and Porter is no exception. In A Very Mersey Murder, the reader will confront themes of illegitimate children and adoption, and gender identity, alongside tensions in friendships and a dash of romantic love.

Porter keeps his readers guessing right to the very end, in what amounts to a complex, intense and highly intriguing whodunnit. I suspect this whole series would make for good television, something to rival Vera!

 

Book review: Egyptian Enigma by L.J.M. Owen

I am delighted to share my review of Egyptian Enigma by L.J.M. Owen, Book 3 of her Dr Pimms’ Intermillennial Sleuth series

Egyptian Enigma

About Egyptian Enigma

Dr Elizabeth Pimms, enthusiastic archaeologist and reluctant librarian, has returned to Egypt.

Among the treasures of the Cairo museum she spies cryptic symbols in the corner of an ancient papyrus. Curiosity leads Elizabeth and her gang of sleuths to investigate a cache of mummies hidden in the Golden Tomb.

What is the connection between the Tomb and Tausret, female Pharaoh and last ruler of Egypt’s Nineteenth Dynasty? How did the mummies end up scattered across the globe? And is Elizabeth’s investigation related to attacks on her family and friends?

Between grave robbers, modern cannibals, misinformed historians and jealous Pharaohs, can Dr Pimms solve her new archaeological mystery?

Filled with ancient murder, family secrets and really good food, Egyptian Enigma is the third adventure in the charming crime series:  Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth. Really cold cases.

 

My thoughts (reviewed for Sisters in Crime, Australia)

The third in the Dr Pimms Intermillennial Sleuth cosy mystery series, Egyptian Enigma takes

the reader deep into the exotic and ancient realm of the Pharaohs of Egypt. Engaging

opening scenes of the prologue dive straight into the action of the story as Elizabeth Pimms

visits a tomb in the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo and catches a mysterious

woman in her hotel room stealing her journal.

The narrative races back 4,000 years to Khemet and the reign of Pharaoh Seti II as his wife,

Tausret prepares for her day. When her husband is assassinated, she takes control to

become the last in her dynasty to rule Egypt and she is at risk at every turn. This parallel

narrative is well-conceived and convincing, the reader provided an at once educative and

fascinating insight into an ancient civilisation.

Meanwhile, back home in Canberra, the intrepid and wilful Dr Pimms and her team set

about solving an archaeological mystery using modern techniques to see re-create a

mummy. How Dr Pimms’ investigations and Tausret are connected is the key narrative

driver.

The story is helped along by good characterisation of both the protagonist and minor

characters, and a carefully devised and well-paced plot with numerous twists and turns. The

reader is soon caught up in the blended family life of Dr Pimms and her professional life as

both librarian and academic, with all of the ups and downs, arguments and tensions that

come with such complexity.

The pace of the narrative is slowed considerably by both the archaeological exposition and

descriptions of sumptuous dining. Yet these descriptive scenes help to provide Egyptian

Enigma with a strong, cosy-mystery vibe. Themes of child brides, the subjugation of women

and the deleting of women’s stories from the historical record are foregrounded to the

delight of feminist readers.

The ending is abrupt and leaves many questions unanswered, leaving the reader waiting

impatiently for Book Four. Overall, Egyptian Enigma will satisfy cosy mystery fans who enjoy

being cosseted in a Miss Marple-style story world, L.J.M. Owen’s knowledge of archaeology

coming into its own as ever it does in the Dr Pimms’ series.

You can find Egyptian Enigma on Amazon

Find L.J.M. Owen at her website https://www.ljmowen.com/

Book review: Graveyard Girls edited by Gerri R Gray

Graveyard Girls is a gripping anthology of short stories edited by Gerry R Gray

Graveyard Girls

About Graveyard Girls

A delicious collection of horrific tales and darkest poetry in one big, fat horror anthology from the cream of the crop; all lovingly compiled by the incomparable Gerri R. Gray! Nestling between the covers of this formidable tome are twenty-five of the very best lady authors writing on the horror scene today!

These tales of terror are guaranteed to chill your very soul and awaken you in the dead of the night with fear-sweat clinging to your every pore and your heart pounding hard and heavy in your labored breast…

Featuring stories from: Xtina Marie, MW Brown, Rebecca Kolodziej, Anya Lee, Barbara Jacobson, Gerri R. Gray, Christina Bergling, Julia Benally, Olga Werby, Kelly Glover, Lee Franklin, Linda M. Crate, Vanessa Hawkins, P. Alanna Roethle, J. Snow, Evelyn Eve, Serena Daniels, S.E. Davis, Sam Hill, J.C. Raye, Donna J.W. Munro, R.J. Murray, C. Bailey-Bacchus, Varonica Chaney and Marian Finch.

 

My thoughts:

Graveyard Girls opens with lusciously dark poetry from Xtina Marie, which serves as an apt point of entry into this collection of diverse and horrifying reads. The anthology then kicks off with ‘Deadlines’ by M.W. Brown, and I couldn’t help sympathising with the tough yet lovable Esther “Polar Bear” Jones who has a intruder and finds herself negotiating with this assassin. Brown has penned a thriller of a tale that never misses a beat, with satisfying and unexpected twists. ‘Demons Opus’ by Rebecca Kolodziej is well-crafted and original with good characterisation and a haunting musical theme. Then there’s the gritty ‘Hong’ by Anya Lee, featuring  fourteen-year-old Victoria, a girl with quite an attitude, vulnerable, rebellious, troubled; and the horror she is forced to endure all too real. But she is no victim…

Later there’s Gerri R Gray’s ‘Of Black Butterflies she Dreamt’ which opens with exquisite prose and does not disappoint. Breathtaking!

The arresting Christina Bergling’s ‘After the Screaming’ is also worth a mention, not only for the masterful writing. The story is an intense, in-depth study of the mental torture of early motherhood. Bergling puts the reader right inside the main character. Only a woman could have written this story!

There are so many excellent stories here, too many to mention. The anthology ends on the blood curdling selection of poems by Marian Finch, the perfect way to round off the horror.

Graveyard Girls is a chilling and vivid read, and the writing is top notch. Suspenseful, confronting, imaginative and at times innovative, Graveyard Girls is a terrific example of the talent and vision of women writers of horror, writers who explore taboos and experiment with tropes.

You can find Graveyard Girls on Amazon 

Vicky Aisha Inspires Twerk

Vicky Aisha –Australia’s high-profile dancer – inspires Twerk

Vicky Aisha

What a privilege it is to have a daughter as talented as Vicky Aisha! Doubly so, after she chose to be open and frank with me about her professional life! The result of six years of conversations is Twerk, a novel that puts dancers stage center in an edge-of-seat dark thriller. Vicky Aisha has supported the creation of this novel every step of the way. Neither of us is claiming that Twerk is representative of every club the world over – far from it, Twerk is fiction after all – but the novel does aim to do some justice to what is a very tough job!

A Foreword from Vicky Aisha

“Over my 5+ years as a dancer I’ve always been open and honest with my mother, Isobel Blackthorn. I live quite far away from the club that I work at, and to help me stay awake on the drive home it became tradition for me to call her and recount all the funny little things that happened over my night. Isobel made mental notes of the banter between dancers and customers and these anecdotes inspired her to write the novel, Twerk.

Twerk is a work of fiction and is first and foremost a dark and steamy thriller, however much of the behind the scenes details are based on an amalgamation of what I’ve recounted of my experiences as a dancer.

Isobel Blackthorn has an incredibly creative mind and has written a gripping thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat as you read. I am proud to have inspired her to write this unique novel.”

Twerk

About Twerk

“Twerk is a page-turning rollercoaster of a ride.”

“Addictive and thoroughly entertaining, Twerk sizzles on every page!”

Desire, a spark, a decision made too fast (in haste), and a Las Vegas stripper is plunged into the depraved world of a psychopath. But is she the only target of his twisted desires?

A regular Sunday night in a Las Vegas strip club is rocked when a local oddball dies mysteriously, during a private dance.

Amber falls immediately in lust with the hot paramedic who arrives, and follows him outside, anticipating sizzling romance. But, her casual encounter quickly descends into a terrifying, twisted nightmare from which she is unable to escape.

Five days later, and it’s Lana’s next shift at the club; she’s a fly-in-fly-out stripper paying her way through law school – she’s also Amber’s best friend.

Where is Amber? And what about the dead client? Was it an accident? Suicide? Or murder?

Finding neither the police, nor the club are taking much interest, Lana conducts her own inquiries, even though she finds herself the victim of a social-media hate campaign, and an ex-boyfriend who is sending her death threats. She’s desperate to uncover the truth about the death, but the person she most needs to speak to is Amber, who has failed to show up for her shift yet again…

Lana is thrust into a web of lies and deceptions she is determined to unravel, in which everyone is a suspect.

An addictively dark, psychological thriller laced with steamy romance, mystery, action and suspense; Twerk exposes the working lives of Las Vegas strippers behind the glamor – the challenges, the rewards, and the deadly risks.

Early Reviews of Twerk

“I can honestly say Isobel’s book has left its mark on me and won’t be leaving me for a very time.” – Goodreads reviewer

“Twerk shot into my top 5 books for 2018. My imagination was stretched and taken for a chilling ride.” – Theresa Terry Hetherington, reviewer

Due for release December 7th

Order your copy of Twerk at Amazon viewbook.at/Twerk

Book review: Essence Asunder by Feind Gottes

Essence Asunder by Feind Gottes –  welcome to body horror!

Feind Gottes review

About Essence Asunder

A gut-wrenching, stomach-churning journey into one man’s private hell – Essence Asunder is one brutal novella!
One man. Two fiends. A cold, dark basement. A table of torture devices. A garrote chair. Jacob Falgoust has woken into his own private Hell where Pain and Misery greet him with open arms. A reason wrapped in riddles of beauty and pain may be his only chance to escape the suffering. Jacob must find the answer before his very essence is torn asunder.

My thoughts:

The horror in Essence Asunder grabs you from the first sentence and does not let go. This novella is as gruesome and confronting a read as you are ever likely to encounter and is not for the faint-hearted! For those brave enough to turn the pages, a dark, voyeuristic fascination will descend in your mind as you live, if vicariously, a protracted torture scene – visceral and grotesque.

Meet Jake, aka Jacob, the victim of a punishing campaign of pain, meted out by Dr. Mad Hatter and his monstrous assistant. Enduring unimaginable acts, Jacob slips in and out of consciousness and has flashbacks to his beloved Evangeline. He is desperate to discover if she is safe.

Slowly, very slowly, the reader finds out who Jake really is. The story culminates in a satisfying revelation that leaves the reader wondering whose side to take, and then just when you think you get it and know everything, there’s the final twist.

Gottes has penned an extraordinary novella of unrelenting tension and sustained body horror. The writing is strong and the story well-crafted. Essence Asunder will take your breath away. Be warned!

You can pick up your copy of Essence Asunder on Amazon