A review of “The Scattered and the Dead Book 1”by Tim McBain and LTVargus

 

The apocalypse has many faces

The Scattered and the Dead is a brilliantly written take on what can only be described as several apocalyptic events occurring simultaneously to wipe out over 99% of the Earth’s population. The story lines and timelines, ranging anywhere from the virus’s initial inception 68 days before to roughly 9 years after, follow what appear to be a random series of survivors as they navigate the current state of the world.  The action seems to be centered mostly in center of the US, which leaves the reader to wonder about the state of the country as a whole or the entire world for that matter. From Mitch, a family man only trying to find a safe place in a world gone mad for his two sons, to a mysterious shrouded character known to us only as “Baghead”, the stories while seemingly appearing unrelated weave together to tell a chilling tale.

While a few of the storylines come crashing together as part of the chilling conclusion, many are left in limbo.  I am interested to see how the other stories weave into this overall landscape of the post-apocalyptic world according to McBain and Vargus

 A review of “I Am Jack” – installment 2 by Michael Bray

A killer is born

I Am Jack is the newest novel by horror/thriller author Michael Bray. Released free in serialized format to members of his mailing list, I received the second installment earlier this week.

While not a ‘factual account’ of the White Chapel Murders or the Ripper, it is a tale of fiction based on fact which allows the author more room for artistic license. Also, in the true form of the time period and subject matter, this is not a book that should be read by those who are easily offended.

While the first installment covered the meeting of Edward and Mr. Hapgood and provided a timeline of his formative years; this installment covers the period encompassing what appears to be his late teens to early twenties. In this portion of the story we find Edward working alongside of his friend George in a hospital. It is here, that Edward meets the love of his life, Lucy. Edward and Lucy live happily enough, but Edward’s past haunts him and we learn the true depth of the damage that was done by his mother and father at an early age. As a result of these lingering issues Lucy leaves him, adding what appears to be the final nail in the coffin resulting in the transition between troubled youth and cold blooded killer.

I would say that in this installment, “Edward” symbolically dies and “Jack the Ripper” is born as we witness him taking his first not so tentative steps into notoriety. Bray’s writing during this time is so descriptive and vivid that I could almost smell the stench of the pubs, alleyways, filth and gore while reading through this portion of text.

While I personally felt that this installment was over too soon, it definitely left me in eager anticipation of next month’s continuation.

 

A review of “Evil Spark (Dark Magic Enforcer Book 2)” by Al K. Line

Full disclosure – I received a free copy of this book from the author as part of his “A-Team” in exchange for an honest review.

Nobody messes with Grandma!

Evil Spark resumes our story of Faz Pound, Dark Magic Enforcer, shortly after the conclusion of Black Spark. Having vanquished Ankine Luisi and corrected his mistake from the previous week, Faz retires to the sanctuary of his home to recover from his dark magic use. When he is awakened by Kate with the news that his Grandma has gone missing, followed by the disappearance of Mage Rikka, Faz realizes that there will be no rest for this Enforcer. Joined by Dancer, Intus and a few unlikely allies, he sets out on a race against the clock to find his loved ones and exact revenge as only he can.

There definitely is no down time in this series as we are thrust right into the action from the opening pages all the way to the thrilling conclusion. The Hidden world is explored in more detail and we get a glimpse into the various factions and politics.  If you are a vampire fan, you will not be disappointed as Faz finds himself right in the middle of House Taavi – not a good place to be at all. While questions are answered, the mystery of his parent’s death deepens as Faz still attempts to find the immortal responsible.

Another great installment and a very nice set up for many more events to come. I am eagerly awaiting the next adventure.

 

 

A review of “INK: Blue (INK Trilogy Book 3)” by Al K. Line

Initially posted to Amazon and Goodreads April 2016

How much more can one man take?

INK Blue resumes our story of Edsel, Lash and Aiden approximately 5 years after the close of INK Black. After the disastrous encounter at the amusement park, the trio has sought asylum and peace on an island off the English coast. While Edsel and Lash seem to be content with their solitary exile, Aiden is growing restless at having no other human interaction, and no real way to find an eventual mate. The trio decides to make a short trip back to the mainland to assess the current state of the world and try to fulfill Aiden’s request.

Once on the Mainland they meet Michael, an eccentric older Awoken gentleman who becomes fast friends with Aiden. The trio’s brief ‘vacation’ takes a bizarre turn as yet again, Edsel finds himself the recipient of a bizarre Inking at the hands of Michael and a chase ensues to rescue Aiden and Lash from the clutches of their once benevolent friend.

I must say that I have mixed feelings about this book. The series as a whole was great and there is a definite conclusion to the story, but I didn’t feel that there was really any resolution for Edsel. This poor guy has gone through so much, I just felt that there should have been something better for him than how this story ends. I know that some people will love the way this series ended but I personally am holding out hope for an INK sequel of sorts that follows the remaining characters down their continued paths. That really is the great thing about the state of the world that Al has created with the Lethargy, Eventuals, Whole, Awoken, etc. This entire concept is a goldmine for great stories… and we have already seen three series based off of this world. Maybe in the future we can catch up with Edsel and the gang again to see where life ultimately takes them.

A review of “Blood Memory Season 1 Episode 3” by Perrin Briar

Organized zombie hordes in the mist? Shudder!

In Season One Episode Three we find our survivors on their newly acquired catamaran in the midst of a dense fog planning a trip ashore for supplies before making the long trip to hopefully calmer waters. Once on land, they encounter not only a group of locals but also a zombie horde that seem dead set on keeping them from returning to their boat and the relative safety of the sea.

All is not what is seems in this episode and things get downright weird.  With everything from the creepy shop keeper carrying on as if nothing is wrong to “Ugly” the sentient zombie, this installment definitely has its twists and turns. As we say hello to some new characters and goodbye to others, it becomes clear that dry land is not some place our heroes want to be.

I really love how there seems to be sort of a “hive mind mentality” among the infected apparently centered around Ugly. This is a concept that I have only seen explored by two other authors and the implications of such a concept are downright scary.  It’s bad enough having to deal with mindless flesh hungry creatures that will stop at nothing to rip you to shreds, but to think of having an army of them controlled by one or two “generals” so to speak? Shudder!

This installment was definitely action packed with a thrilling conclusion that left me wanting to know what happened next.

A review of “INK: Black” by Al K. Line

 

Nobody escapes The Eventuals

Initially posted to Amazon and Goodreads April 2016

INK: Black sees the return of Edsel and Aiden approximately two years after the ending of INK: Red. Still mourning his Kathy and with the passing of Bob, Edsel and Aiden set off to Wales for a new start, hoping to evade the Eventuals and memories of the past. There they meet up with an enigmatic female named “Lash” (Don’t call her Lashae) and the trio fast becomes an inseparable if not dysfunctional family.

Being a Tattoo enthusiast and amateur artist, Lash suggests that Edsel cover over The Ink with another color; black. Edsel eventually agrees and finds himself strapped to a gurney once again to attempt to negate the damage wrought two years ago. What he didn’t realize was that his attempt to disappear from the Eventuals’ radar was the very event that shone a spotlight on his whereabouts. Kidnapped by a group of “ex” Eventuals and duped into taking The Ink a second time, Edsel finds himself once again in a kill or be killed situation; fighting for his life and the lives of his loved ones. After a chance encounter with the leader of the Eventuals, the group is left with even more questions than answers.

This is yet another faced paced installment in the INK series. We get to catch up with some older characters and have a few new ones introduced. It was interesting to see how the Ink consumed Edsel even two years after the fact – almost to the point of distraction and desperate measures. The Eventuals are still a formidable foe, but not without their own “keystone cop” moments. Varik, as expected is mystifying in his supposed benevolence to the team yet terrifying at the same time. If you haven’t read INK: Red –go to that now, this series does not disappoint!

A review of “Spanners – The Fountain of Youth” by Jonathan Maas

 

Originally posted to Amazon and Goodreads – March 2016

 

Full Disclosure – I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review

Imagine having a lifespan of only six months? What would you do? What about being immortal? Would you use your time on earth for good or for ill?

These are the questions that face Spanners – people who do not live their lives sequentially but in differing timelines and with different abilities, strengths and weaknesses. Spanners often look normal and integrate with society but others tend to stay away from humanity for theirs and societies own good.

Adam Parr is what is called an immortal Spanner. As an immortal, he doesn’t die and he’s not really afraid of much…. except being buried alive. For an immortal spanner this is a fate worse than death.

When a longtime adversary escapes his underground prison and begins to amass an army to capture the Fountain of Youth and usher in a Utopian society Adam, with the help of his siblings and an old friend must attempt to raise their own army to defeat him.

Having read two other books by Jon, this one is nothing like his other works. Spanners sort of reminded me a tad of X-Men, but way more bad-ass. The different classes of Spanner and their character traits and abilities added a level of depth to the characters to help flesh them out and make the story even more interesting. Seeing the budding friendships/relationships develop also helped to show that even though they may be different, even immortal in some case, they are human. In the end the story resolved just enough to give closure to this book but also leave the door open for more Spanners to come.

All in all, a great read. Looking forward to seeing what else is in store for Adam, Mayfly and the others.