Book Review: Jon Richter’s Disturbing Works Vol 2

About Jon Richter’s Disturbing Works

Another compendium of delightfully macabre stories by Jon Richter, author of Deadly Burial and Never Rest. Jon’s first short fiction collection was described as ‘Black Mirror meets Tales Of The Unexpected’, and here he brings you another chilling assortment of twisted tales encompassing killer creatures, terrifying technology, and scientific experiments gone horribly wrong… These dark fables are perfect for anyone who likes their reads short, shocking, and laced with a dash of black humour.

My Thoughts

This collection of dark tales gets off to a suitably disturbing start as family man Walter attempts to cope with the garbage in his town’s landfill site, a quarry known as The Pit  – the stench, the rats, the maggots, the flies. Walter isn’t happy. He sends his wife and children away to enjoy cleaner air. The mounting garbage, caused by a strike, is mirrored in internal filth, in corruption in local government. The story unfolds through the lens of several other characters, but the main character is really the quarry itself, brought to life in visceral detail, the reader doomed to smell the smells and hear the buzz of the flies. Richter majors here in revulsion and he does it well.

Throughout these ten stories the prose is taut; Richter writes with that necessary poise required of good horror. There is no flab here. The stories are infused with intelligence and insight, the prose filled with crisp dialogue and evocative imagery, such as the following from ‘The Truth’:

“I suppose what I’d experienced had been something resembling a breakdown: a feeling like choking, of being slowly dragged beneath the surface of a lake, bureaucracy and corporate politics tangled around me like discarded plastic ensnaring a helpless sea creature.”

As this second story progresses, I’m reminded very much of Ivor Cutler both in terms of wit and in toying with the absurd. I’m also reminded that so much talent fails to get picked up by mainstream publishing with its orientation towards volumes of sales which lends itself to sameness and formulaic storylines to feed the masses, Fifty Shades style.

All of the stories in this collection set out to disturb, revolt and amuse. If it’s originality you want, look no further. Jon Richter has a wry sense of humour that shines through the pages and at times has you laughing almost in spite of yourself. Disturbing Works Vol 2 is an immersive journey in what is my favourite form of horror: British black humour. Jon Richer is a rare talent and his works surely deserve to be read.

Author bio:

Jon Richter writes dark fiction, including his two gripping crime thrillers, Deadly Burial and Never Rest, and his two collections of short horror fiction, volumes one and two of Jon Richter’s Disturbing Works. Jon lives in Elephant & Castle and is a self-confessed nerd who loves books, films and video games – basically any way to tell a great story. He writes whenever he can, and hopes to bring you more macabre tales in the very near future, including his upcoming cyberpunk noir thriller, London 2039: Auxiliary. He also co-hosts the Dark Natter podcast, a fortnightly dissection of the greatest works of dark fiction, available wherever you get your podcast fix. If you want to chat to him about any of this, you can find him on Twitter @RichterWrites or Instagram @jonrichterwrites.
His website haunts the internet at http://www.jon-richter.com, and you can find his books at Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2OXXRVP.

Isobel Blackthorn is an award-winning author of unique and engaging fiction. She writes gripping mysteries, dark psychological thrillers and historical fiction. Her dark fiction includes The Cabin Sessions and The Legacy of Old Gran Parks

Blackthorn Book Tours: Death of a Young Lieutenant by B R Stateham

About Death of a Young Lieutenant

Meet Captain Jake Reynolds – pilot, adventurer, art thief, spy.

In the opening weeks of World War One, and as a member of the newly formed British Royal Flying Corps, Captain Jake Reynolds is shipped off to Belgium.

Roped in by his squadron commander to prove the innocence of a young lieutenant accused of murder, Jake also wants to steal a 14th Century Jan van Eck painting.

The problem is both the evidence and the painting are behind enemy lines.

How do you prove a man’s innocence and steal a masterpiece while an entire German army is breathing down your neck?

My Thoughts

Stateham has penned an intriguing and well-conceived story told mostly through the eyes of daring art thief and forger Captain Jake Reynolds, who is charged with finding out who murdered Sergeant Grimms. Young Lieutenant Oglethorpe, also deceased, is in the frame. Only Colonel Wingate is not so sure he’s guilty. Reynolds heads off to investigate, a task that means he must sneak behind enemy lines. While there, he plots another art theft. 

There is much to love in this novel. I enjoyed Stateham’s punchy, rhythmic narrative style. Stateham has taken his literary chisel to his daring protagonist Jake Reynolds and sculpted a complex larrikin of a character that can charm his way out of the tightest of spots. The mystery elements combine in intricate ways that make for an engaging and entertaining read. And there is plenty of action to kick things along to a satisfying conclusion.

When it comes to stories based in history, anachronisms can easily slip in. World War One in 1914 was known as the Great War. But Stateham writes for a contemporary audience and perhaps made his choice accordingly. Death of a Young Lieutenant to my mind would not be classed historical fiction, the genre where such things matter, heaps, with historians quick to demolish a novel for getting a small point wrong. And yet the novel is packed with historical details and the author has clearly researched his subject, especially regarding the history of aviation. I appreciated the realism of the backdrop.

In all Death of a Young Lieutenant will please murder mystery fans who love to be taken on a journey to another time and place, to find themselves in amongst all the action. Recommended.

 

About B.R. Stateham

B.R. Stateham is a fourteen-year-old boy trapped in a seventy-year-old body.  But his enthusiasm and boyish delight in anything mysterious and/or unknown continue.

Writing novels, especially detectives, is just the avenue of escape which keeps the author’s mind sharp and inquisitive.  He’s published a ton of short stories in online magazines like Crooked, Darkest Before the Dawn, Abandoned Towers, Pulp Metal Magazine, Suspense Magazine, Spinetingler Magazine, Near to The Knuckle, A Twist of Noir, Angie’s Diary, Power Burn Flash, and Eastern Standard Crime.  He writes both detective/mysteries, as well as science-fiction and fantasy.

In 2008 the first book in the series featuring homicide detectives Turner Hahn and Frank Morales came out, called Murderous Passions.

Also, in 2008 he self-published a fantasy novel entitled, Roland of the High Crags: Evil Arises.

In 2009 he created a character named Smitty.  So far twenty-eight short stories and two novellas have been written about this dark eyed, unusually complex hit man.

In 2012 Untreed Reads published book two of the Turner Hahn/Frank Morales series A Taste of Old Revenge.

In 2015 NumberThirteen Press published a Smitty novella entitled, A Killing Kiss.

In 2017 a British indie publisher, Endeavour Media, re-issued A Taste of Old Revenge, and soon followed by a second Turner Hahn/Frank Morales novel entitled, There Are No Innocents.

In 2018 Endeavour Media published a third novel of mine, the first in a 1st Century Roman detective series, entitled While the Emperor Slept.

Also in 2018, NumberThirteen Press merged with another famous British indie, Fahrenheit Press. Soon afterwards, Fahrenheit Press re-issued an old novel of mine entitled, Death of a Young Lieutenant.

Now, after all of this apparent success, you would think Fame and Fortune would have sailed into my harbor, making me the delight of the hard-core genre world. Ah but contraire, mon ami! Fame and Fortune are two devious little wraths who pick and chooses the poor souls they wish to bedevil. I remain in complete anonymity and am just as bereft of fortune as I have always been. And apparently will continue to be for a long time to come.

B.R. Stateham has a blog called, In the Dark Mind of B.R. Stateham – http://noirtaketurner-frank.blogspot.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Death-Young-Lieutenant-Jake-Reynolds-ebook/dp/B07TBFFMFT/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3E0AXA4WW0B27&keywords=death+of+a+young+lieutenant+br+stateham&qid=1577942808&sprefix=death+of+a+young+li%2Caps%2C406&sr=8-1

 

Isobel Blackthorn is an award-winning author of unique and engaging fiction. She writes gripping mysteries, dark psychological thrillers and historical fiction. She is the author of The Unlikely Occultist: a biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey.

Blackthorn Tours Book Review: Hot Splices by Mike Watt

HOT SPLICES features eight interwoven tales about the Film Addicts, the flicker freaks, the Cinephages – they devour film for the high, to connect to the art on the granular level…the bleeding perforations in their skin is just part of the game.

There are five forbidden films, when run together, can induce madness, or release the Dark Gods that created them, speaking through the psychopathic director.

There is a man on the run, with a lost movie that others would kill to obtain. He barely escaped with his life.

There is a tower, once housing for students, now a crumbling, rotting monument to film history, and the men and women who returned to the tower, to die watching their favorite films.

Beneath the tower, there lies something made of light and shadow. It does not love its worshipers…

If you do not love film…
If you do not wish to devour it as it devours you…
If all you seek from film is entertainment…

…This is not the book for you.

My Thoughts

Mike Watt has penned an atmospheric and highly immersive horror novel that leaps at you with gore from the prologue’s first paragraph. The story then unfolds in a pleasingly noir vein, all taut clean prose, as Watt takes his readers behind the scenes of old-style movie making and on a journey through its history. The author knows his subject. But Hot Splices is less an exposé of film making and the industry that surrounds it – and there is plenty of that in this setting rich novel –  and more a fantastical horror journey involving flixing, in which scenes of a movie are absorbed quite literally through allowing the emulsion on the celluloid to absorb on the tongue, somewhat like dropping acid.

Hot Splices is a fast-paced and compulsive read. At the end there are three short stories that relate to the main tale. The whole is original in conception and masterfully constructed. The characters are well-drawn and the pacing and plot twists executed with an eye on the ball. I especially enjoyed the concept of mixing the flixing, a bit like mixing your drugs, as protagonist Tom Boone, an addict from his teenaged years, imbibes various combinations of old films, a habit with startling consequences.

A unique, highly readable and provocative novel, Hot Splices is a must read for horror lovers and dark sci fi lovers alike. The sort of novel that warrants a second read. Highly recommended.

About the Author

Mike Watt is a writer, journalist and screenwriter. He has written for such publications as Fangoria, Film Threat, The Dark Side, the late Frederick Clarke’s Cinefantastique, Femme Fatales and served as editor for the RAK Media Group’s resurrection of Sirens of Cinema.

Through the production company, Happy Cloud Pictures, he has written and produced or directed the award-winning feature film The Resurrection Game, as well as Splatter Movie: The Director’s Cut, A Feast of Flesh, Demon Divas and the Lanes of Damnation and the award-winning Razor Days.

He is the author of the short fiction collection, Phobophobia, the novels The Resurrection Game and Suicide Machine, and from McFarland Publishing: Fervid Filmmaking: 66 Cult Pictures of Vision, Verve and No Self-Restraint. In 2014, he launched the acclaimed Movie Outlaw book series, focusing on “underseen cinema”. He is also the editor-in-chief of the bi-annual publication, Exploitation Nation.

Through Happy Cloud Media, LLC, he edits and publishes 42nd Street Pete’s Grindhouse Purgatory Magazine, as well as Pete’s autobiography, “A Whole Bag of Crazy”.

In 2017, he edited the NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD novelization by John Russo, and the 40th Anniversary printing of Paul Schrader’s TAXI DRIVER screenplay, featuring a new interview with Robert De Niro, published in 2018 by Gauntlet Press.

Isobel Blackthorn is an award-winning author of unique and engaging fiction. She writes gripping mysteries, dark psychological thrillers and historical fiction. She is the author of The Unlikely Occultist: a biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey.

Book Review: Gumshoe Blues by Paul D. Brazill

It’s my turn on the Blackthorn Book Tour for Gumshoe Blues by Paul D. Brazill!

Gumshoe Blues

Following the breakdown of his marriage, in a booze-addled flash of inspiration, Peter Ord decides to become a private investigator. Dark farce and tragicomedy soon ensue. Peter must tackle many challenging cases, and when he comes under the radar of a local crime lord, he may have bitten off more than he can chew. With sidekicks, like boozy hack, Bryn Laden, failure is not an option – it’s compulsory.

My Thoughts

What a corker of a volume this is! Four stories, one a novelette in length, all told from the perspective of washed-up, hard-boiled private investigator and former English teacher Peter Ord. The opening scene of ‘Gumshoe Blues’ find Peter waking up on New Year’s Day after a night of binge drinking. I can hear U2 playing in the background, I can smell the fetid air in the grotty room. The sleaze continues on into pubs and Velvettes, a nightclub for ‘gentlemen’. We soon meet the  supporting cast of barmen, dancers, and underworld bosses make up the northern UK town of Seatown.

Throughout the volume, Brazill’s originality and imagination shine. ‘Mr Kiss and Tell’ finds a wife-beating loser and Ord as a store detective at Poundland – one of Britain’s cheap discount stores. I am reminded of ‘World of Quid’ in the opening episode of the new season  of Birds of a Feather. Stores existing to let the poor believe they can afford to shop. ‘Who Killed Skippy’ finds Ord paid to protect Craig Ferry, from himself. The mystery is solved in the end, but it is hardly the point to the story, which is rather to spotlight the iniquitous Ferry family and particularly the  loser-behemoth, Craig. ‘The Lady and The Gimp’ is an oddly charmingly bleak tale of former lead singer of a punk rock band Lightning Jones – who belongs to Spammy Spampinato doing time for a string of murders –  and Barry Blue, ‘The Gimp’, doing some handyman work at Harry Shand’s bar. His gaze lands on Jones and he falls in lust. Meanwhile, Jones hires Ord to track down his mother.

Brazill crafts strong, believable and quirky characters. The jump cuts walking us through vignettes and backstory work well. A healthy use of colloquialisms lends a gritty authenticity. Told masterfully with tremendous wit and realism in taut, punchy prose, Gumshoe Blues contributes a work of considerable merit to the noir crime stable. In all Brazill offers his readers a window on northern Britain’s underbelly, the everyday humdrum banality of struggle street existence and wrecked lives. Definitely a book to look out for.

 

About the Author

Paul D. Brazill was born in Hartlepool, England and now lives in Bydgoszcz, Poland, where he’s been TEFL teaching for more than a decade.

His books include Last Year’s Man, A Case Of Noir, Guns Of Brixton, Small Time Crimes, and Kill Me Quick. He’s had stories published in various magazines and anthologies, including The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime 8,10 and 11, and his writing has been translated in Italian, Polish, Finnish, German and Slovenian.

You can usually find him on Twitter @PaulDBrazill and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pauldavidbrazill/

Website: https://pauldbrazill.com/

__________________

Isobel Blackthorn is an award-winning author of unique and engaging fiction. She writes gripping mysteries, dark psychological thrillers and historical fiction. She is the author of The Unlikely Occultist: a biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey.

Book Tour: Chance by Carolym M Bowen

About Chance

High-powered Atlanta attorney Sydney Jones never backs down from a case. So when her bodyguard and boyfriend is accused of murder, she’s determined to fight for him in court. Instead, the charges are suddenly dismissed, and he vanishes without a trace…

Suspecting CIA involvement, Sydney takes on a lawsuit with Chinese Black Society ties and finds a startling connection to her missing man. But as she digs deeper, she discovers that someone may kill to keep the secret.

Will this dangerous cat-and-mouse game reveal the truth or put a bullet in Sydney’s head?

Chance is the second book in the Sydney Jones psychological thriller trilogy. If you like fearless heroines, page-turning action, and shocking twists, then you’ll love Carolyn Bowen’s gripping story.

My Thoughts

Chance is a gripping psychological thriller that takes the lid off the underbelly of Atlanta, Georgia, the various cultures at play, the sleaze, the Chinese mafia. Adding to the intrigue, the involvement of the CIA. Meet tough, no-nonsense lawyer Sydney Jones, her beefy bodyguard-lover Walker and washed-up rock star Roxanne who attempts to lure Walker back to her side and ends up accidentally dead for her trouble. I particularly enjoyed the complexity of Sydney’s unexpected and unwanted pregnancy.

The narrative has a strong forward drive that makes for very fast reading. Written in third person personal, the story flits seamlessly from character to character in a fluid jump cut style, an approach that takes a moment to get used to but works well. Bowen’s pastiche of character-led vignette’s adds to the tension, lending a sense of urgency. Sacrificed is the deep point of view of the contemporary thriller – this technique applies especially to psychological thrillers – and Chance is light on dialogue and long action scenes, again, key drivers of the thriller genre. Nevertheless, Bowen has deployed a narrative style that captures the reader and keeps them turning the pages until the very end. Well written with good plotting and pacing and enough intrigue and twists to keep you on your toes, Chance will keep you guessing, waiting for the pay off at the end. Recommended to those after a lighter read in the thriller genre. Chance will also appeal to those after strong female leads.

 

CAROLYN BOWEN is a mystery author who calls on her life escapades and an adventurous, imaginative spirit to inspire and entertain. Bowen uses travel as a muse to explore cultures and dialogue to bring her stories to life. Her writing credits include: Cross-Ties, a romantic adventure; The Long Road Home, a contemporary crime fiction mystery; The Sydney Jones Series Mystery Thrillers; Book 1: Primed For Revenge, and Book 2: Chance – A Novel.

Link – Amazon Exclusively – http://bit.ly/CBChance

Amazon Author Page: http://bit.ly/CBNovels

Carolyn M. Bowen – Website – http://bit.ly/CMBNovels

Twitter Handle: @cmbowenauthor

 

**************

 

Isobel Blackthorn is an award-winning author of unique and engaging fiction. She writes gripping mysteries, dark psychological thrillers and historical fiction. She is the author of The Unlikely Occultist: a biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey.

 

Blackthorn Book Tours Review: Rose by Rami Ungar

 

Rose Taggert awakens in a greenhouse with no clear memory of the past two years and, to her horror, finds her body transformed into an unrecognizable form.

Paris Kuyper has convinced Rose that they are lovers and as Paris could not bear for her to die, he has used an ancient and dark magic to save her from certain death.

But the dark magic Paris has used comes at a price. A price which a terrible demon is determined to extract from Rose.

My Thoughts

At first Rose seems like the sort of light horror novel that will also appeal to fans of YA. Very fast, punchy writing, the narrative action packed and filled with the angsts and worries and conflicts typical of those in their late teens. The story opens with sociology graduate Rose Taggart, who awakes to find herself lying on a table in a greenhouse and realises she has partial amnesia. In a few short paragraphs the horror of her new circumstances unravels as she finds she has been the subject of a spell from ‘The Forest God’s Record’, a grimoire that fell into the hands of her apparent boyfriend Paris. A playful wit vibrates behind the words, Ungar taunting his readers with the absurd, the ridiculous, Rose a hat tip to Kafka’s Metamorphosis. Instead of finding herself transformed into an insect, Rose is part plant, a rose no less. Somehow Ungar renders Rose’s metaphysical calamity plausible.

The playful wit soon gives way to a descent into the ominous and the spooky, Rose’s situation unraveling, the lens pulled back bit by bit, the suspense building and building, culminating in an unexpected ending. Rose contains good characterisation, enough descriptions to offer a sense of place and Ungar demonstrates a keen talent for plotting.  In all Rose makes for very entertaining and disturbing reading.

About Rami Ungar

Rami Ungar knew he wanted to be a writer from the age of five, when he first became exposed to the world of Harry Potter and wanted to create imaginative worlds like Harry’s. As a tween, he fell in love with the works of Anne Rice and Stephen King and, as he was getting too old to sneak up on people and shout “Boo!’ (not that that ever stopped him), he decided to merge his two loves and become a horror writer.

Today, Rami lives and writes in Columbus, Ohio. He’s self-published three novels and one collection of short stories, and his stories have appeared in other publications here and there. Rose, his first novel with Castrum Press, will be released June 21st, 2019.

When he’s not writing your nightmares or coming up with those, he’s enjoying anything from the latest horror novel or movie to anime and manga to ballet, collecting anything that catches his fancy, and giving you the impression he may not be entirely human.

https://ramiungarthewriter.com

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46374205-rose

https://www.facebook.com/RamiUngarWriter/

@RamiUngarWriter

Buy Link

 

 

Book review: Bloody Sheets by Andy Rausch

Bloody Sheets by Andy Rausch

When a young black man is lynched in a small Alabama town, his estranged father — a crime world enforcer — sets out for revenge, embarking on a blood – soaked journey that will leave the ravaged bodies of dead Klansmen in his wake.

“Rausch unleashes a flurry of gut-punches both painful and thrilling, his prose brimming with righteous anger and stark, no-bullshit wit. This racially charged and crackling tale reads like a startling mash-up of Jim Thompson and Iceberg Slim, making Bloody Sheets that rare achievement: hardboiled and hard-hitting, but transcendently heartfelt as well.”

My Thoughts

I had no idea what to expect when I opened this novella and I was pleased to find good strong prose and a no-holds-barred style laced with acid wit. A raw, straight ahead vengeance tale for fans of pulp fiction, Bloody Sheets is grit on steroids. Enter the deep south of the United States, a small-town in Alabama riven with racism and hatred, a location where the Ku Klux Klan are strong and active. When a young couple in love defy local mores – she’s white, he’s black – a father seeks revenge and calls in a favour from ex-con Coke. What unfolds will take your breath away and be warned, this novella is not for the faint of heart!

Bloody Sheets is a fast-paced, one-sitting read, with witty and sharp dialogue and graphic scenes of extreme violence. The title is apt and metaphoric, the story strong on setting. Rausch even manages to endear his badass hero to his readers and provides a stark portrait of racial hatred and its inevitable consequences. I loved the final twist.

Not exactly a morality tale, but there is enough in Bloody Sheets to make you pause and think.

Andy Rausch is an American film journalist, author, screenwriter, film producer, and actor. He is the author of several novels and novellas including Elvis Presley, CIA Assassin. He also wrote the screenplay for Dahmer versus Gacy and is the author of some twenty non-fiction books on popular culture. Books: Riding Shotgun, Bloody Sheets, A Time for Violence, Layla’s Score.

 

You can usually find Andy on Twitter @writerrausch1, and he maintains a blog at https://authorandyrausch.wordpress.com/

Grab your copy on Amazon

Isobel Blackthorn is an award-winning author of unique and engaging fiction. She writes dark psychological thrillers, mysteries, and contemporary and literary fiction. Isobel was shortlisted for the Ada Cambridge Prose Prize 2019 for her biographical short story, ‘Nothing to Declare’. The Legacy of Old Gran Parks is the winner of the Raven Awards 2019. Isobel holds a PhD from the University of Western Sydney, for her research on the works of Theosophist Alice A. Bailey, the ‘Mother of the New Age.’