Archive for killed

CONTROL POINT By Myke Cole – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2013 by stanleyriiks

Oscar Britton is an army officer, and when he and his team are called to deal with a prohibited latent, they have a hell of a time. A latent is a person who develops magical powers. Certain magical powers are prohibited as too dangerous. One of Britton’s men is half killed by fire demons, and two teenage latents are shot dead, a school is burned, and Oscar has an argument with a sorcerer.

A few hours later Oscar has a latent episode, finding himself on the other side of the law. Knowing he has a prohibited magical power (opening wormhole-like gates) he goes on the run.

What follows is actually even more exciting and action packed than the beginning. As Oscar is “recruited” as a contractor for the army, and must face the tough challenges of learning to control his power on the front-line of a war with goblin-like creatures.

This doesn’t really have a slew of original ideas, but it’s put together very well, creating that newness and excitement. The military and magic are juxtaposed, and Oscar and his team work together to discover their powers and use them for good, despite the military’s view of them as weapons.

The book is a cross between Harry Potter and Stripes, or Biloxi Blues. The unique mix of military and magic makes this book. There is a little too much concentration on Oscar’s struggle to deal with his new power and his manipulation by the military, but that serves its own purpose and works within the context of the story. A kind of coming-of-age tale, using all the best bits of a military story, but a little fantasy thrown in for good measure. You can’t help but love little Marty, the goblin. There is plenty of action to speed things along.

Intelligent, exciting, pulse-racing and action packed. Full-on magical military mayhem.

SANDMAN SLIM By Richard Kadrey – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 26, 2013 by stanleyriiks

I saw Devil Said Bang in Forbidden Planet before Christmas and knew I had to read it. OCD sufferer that I am, I can’t start a series with book number four, so this one (Sandman Slim) went on my Christmas list. Fortunately Santa listened and I unwrapped this along with another twenty-odd books (Santa’s good!). I thought I’d start with this one because it’s fairly short, and I wanted to start working my way towards that fourth book in the series, the one I really wanted to read.

Fortunately the first in the series is a rock-hard, ultra-violent, action-fest!

Jimmy Stark was sent down to hell eleven years ago by his magic circle. Since then he’s been trying to survive as the play-toy of demons, and has managed to become a monster fighter and assassin. But when his ex-girlfriend is brutally murdered by the very same man who put him in hell, Stark escapes, killing one of Lucifer’s generals in the process. Now he’s in LA, looking for revenge on the magic circle that sentenced him to hell and their leader who killed the only woman he ever loved.

What follows is a cross between David Gunn’s Death’s Head (the attitude, the action, the raw brutality, and the protagonist from hell [this time literally]), and Tim Waggoner’s Nekopolis (a city [this time LA] riven with hellish creatures and magic), although it’s all under the surface here.

Stark is the perfect host (first person narrator), a revenge-driven psychopath, willing to kill himself and whoever gets in his way. The first person he encounters he cuts of their head. He doesn’t get any friendlier as the novel goes on, and it’s great! Hard-bitten, filled with venom and pithy comments, Stark is a true urban anti-hero with a bad attitude.

Kadrey has produced a real character in Stark, a unique individual you can’t help but remember, and may be not for all the right reasons. He’s fantastically caustic, and all the better for it in the urban sprawl of LA. An LA filled with angels, demons and Kissee, along with magicians, G-men from Homeland Security, murderers, skinheads and all manner of human-pus.

Sandman Slim is a unique and terribly entertaining mix, an urban fantasy that is vile and brutal and brilliant because of that. Stark is a hero that demands your attention, he has mine, and I’ll be back for the second in the series, and the third and fourth. I can’t wait!

HELL TO PAY By Shaun Hutson – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2012 by stanleyriiks

This book from 2004, follows a similar pattern to Hutson’s other “horror’ thrillers of the time such as White Ghost.  Around this time, Huston seems to leave the supernatural horror of his previous books behind and head into this new “thriller” territory. Normally there would still be plenty of violence and disturbing gruesome descriptions (that Hutson’s known for) to up the ante on the usual thrillers out there.

Hell to Pay follows the same principles, including the various plot-lines intersecting towards the end for a climactic showdown.

Nikki Reed is in trouble, big trouble. Her and her husband owe the local gangster twenty thousand pounds, most of it spent down the bookies and gambled away, the rest spent on Playstation 2s and similar unrequired accessories. They have until the end of the week to find the money, or they’re likely to be killed by the loan shark, who is already threatening them with violence.

Roma Todd is having an affair. Her husband is virtually estranged, spending all of his time at work and providing little in the way of parental support for their ill daughter Kirsten.

Detective Inspector Fielding is called to another murder. A young boy found washed up by a lake. The third child to be killed. Is it a serial killer they are looking for or a paedophile? Or both? With few clues to follow the police are searching for any lead they can get.

So these three plot lines will eventually intersect, but the climatic action denouement that you would expect ultimately fails to be realised. There is a slight twist, but not enough to satisfy.

One of the great things about Hutson’s novels is the pop-culture references, but reading a book that’s eight years old mean searching through the annals of history. That’s not Hutson’s fault obviously, the fact the book has been lying on my shelf for eight years though is down to the dissatisfied feeling I had after reading White Ghost. That is Hutson’s fault.

Ultimately Hutson is a decent writer who has moved away from what he was good at, writing horror novels, to have a go at the more lucrative thriller market where he does not excel. Nowadays Gary McMahon does urban horror with a much better grasp of the intricacies of modern youth culture, and a better handle on violence and atmosphere.

To write off Hutson as a has-been based on a book written eight years ago is far too harsh. Some of his novels, those that I grew up with such as Nemesis, Death Day, and Relics, are classic British horror. I need to read a more recent Hutson novel to make a more informed decision, and because of his former skill he can’t be written off after a couple of decent, if not impressive, horror thrillers. Decision pending…


Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2011 by stanleyriiks

Harrowing. If I had to sum up this book in one word it would be that one. Disturbing, horrifying, terrifying, creepy, gruesome, unsavoury, rotten, nasty, filthy would all work too. This is the kind of book that makes you want a shower afterwards. The kind that leaves a lingering sense of decay, one that takes a little part of your soul with it. There are horror novels, and there are Gary McMahon horror novels. He is simply in a different class.

Thomas Usher’s was driving when a car crash killed his wife and daughter. He survived, but quickly found he had been left with a terrible, horrible gift. Usher can see the dead. But if you think this is going to be Haley Joel Osmond in The Sixth Sense, or Jonah Hex or Odd Thomas, then you are so very wrong. Usher’s guilt-filled existence is horrible enough, but he happens to be following a young woman who is murdered (the third to be hung), and his friend is related to a young girl who is abducted. How are the abduction and the murders related, and can Usher uses the powers that he’s been trying to suppress for the past year to help solve the cases?

McMahon builds a gritty world of urban decay, his human characters are just as revolting, gruesome and disturbing as the supernatural elements. Our narrator and protagonist, guilt-riddled as he is, is the only faint hope we have.

As depressingly realistic, as nasty and brutal as this novel is, you have to read on. You must. There is a grinding darkness that saps your will to escape. McMahon’s first Usher novel is a stupendous feat of hideousness. In the best possible way. This is horror as it’s most revealing. You cannot read this book and not feel unclean, untouched. McMahon does what the best writers do, he makes you feel. You feel disgust, you feel slightly sick, you feel relief. McMahon makes you hurt. Pretty Little Dead Things should be McMahon’s break out novel, this should be a best seller, every horror fan must read this book. They will find out what they’ve been missing all these years. Pretty Little Dead Things is hardcore. Unrelentingly dark and terribly atmospheric, you have not read a horror novel until you have read a McMahon horror novel.

Never, in over twenty years of reading horror, have I been so intensely disturbed by a novel.

Pretty Little Dead Things is sublime. Real horror at it’s very worst (meaning best). Hardcore horror. Not for the faint of heart.

VAMPIRE WARLORDS By Andy Remic – Reviewed

Posted in Morpheus Tales Magazine, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2011 by stanleyriiks

Posted with the permission of Morpheus Tales Magazine.

The third book in the Clockwork Vampire Chronicles sees us back at the dramatic cliff-hanger (literally) of the second book, where the immortal Vampire Warlords are brought back from the Halls of Chaos by the mass genocide of the Vachine race of Silva Valley by Graal and Kradek-ka. Myriam betrays Kell, Saark’s heart is ripped from his chest, and the Army of Iron, alongside the Harvesters, have taken over Falanor.

Kell and Nianna grab up Saark’s body and head down a hole in the mountain of Hill Top, leaving the Vampire Warlords to start the destruction of the entire human race. The Warlords start by turning the humans into vampire slaves as the split Falanor between them, each taking a major city, corrupting it and turning the people into the undead.

Kell cannot sit back and watch. He must fight, because that’s all he knows. Heading North, hoping to find something or someone that will help him, Kell manages to find the least expected army, and must try to drive the Vampire Warlords and Graal’s Army of Iron from Falanor before every human being is killed.

It was a couple of years ago that I discovered Kell’s Legend in Forbidden Planet and bought it because I liked the cover, and it  was a signed copy. It was about three months later that I bought another copy as my local Borders closed, I think it was half price. Little did I know at the time that the book was so worth buying twice. Kell’s Legend is the first book of this series, and it’s now one of my favourite books of all time. One of the most exciting, energetic and inspirational books I’ve ever read. Like the first Conan book I picked up at the age of fourteen. Like the first time I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. This is a book that sticks with you, a character who is far from perfect, but all the better for it. A hero that you can love for his grumpiness as well as his courage and determination. The third and final part of Kell’s adventure has more excitement, more action, more energy. It’s difficult to convey the energy and passion that Remic has imbued his books with. I don’t get excited very often (just ask my girlfriend!), but reading these books had me grinning ear to ear, bouncing up and down like a little school boy needing to have a pee.

If you’ve missed the first and the second books and want to dive into the third it’s very possible you’ll have a great time. But you’ll still be missing out. The first and second books are fabulously rich with drive, action and experience. Never have I been so riveting with a book as at the end of Kell’s Legend when I reached the final page, lying down in bed (where I do most of my reading), and I jumped up and down and screamed and shouted that I had to buy the second book (which wasn’t out at the time), and was left fidgety and nervous for several hours afterwards as I tried to calm down.

Ok, so now Kell is seemingly invincible, but Remic remedies this by making him all the more human emotionally, and filling in a rather distasteful back-story.

The secret to these books is that Remic draws you in, he makes you feel, he tricks you, he hurts you, he draws you in further. Reading a Remic book is not like reading, it’s like playing the most immersive video-game, or watching the best film, you believe you are there, you feel every cut, every crash of steel, every heartbeat, every gasp of breath. The excitement comes from this interactive experience, which is beyond what other writers do.

Andy Remic is a nasty genius who wants to kidnap you and take you for the ride of your life.

I urge you to read the Clockwork Vampire Chronicles. If you only pick up one fantasy book in your life you should read Kell’s Legend and you will certainly pick up the Soul Stealers and Vampire Warlords. You won’t be able not to.

Angry Robot should offer a money-back guarantee with Andy Remic’s books, their money would be perfectly safe.

An amazing book in a truly outstanding fantasy series. I hope, I beg, I pray, I beseech Mr Remic to provide us with more tales of Kell. Books really don’t get much better than this. A thundering fantasy thriller. A rip-roaring action-adventure. A suitably exciting conclusion to an epic and massively entertaining series.

DISTURBIA By Christopher Fowler – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2010 by stanleyriiks

This starts off magnificently, Fowler’s richly styled first chapter promises much only to fall away and concentrate on the story. A story that reminds me of a cheap version of The Da Vinci Code, despite being written fourteen years ago.

Vincent Reynolds (working class writer) meets up with Sebastian Wells (son of Lord, never worked in his life) to research a piece he’s writing on the class struggle in London. He soon becomes involved in a race for his life, as he delves too deep into the secret society of the Prometheus Club, a group of power-hungry rich aristos. Vince must follow the clues, enlisting a strange group to help him discover the truth, otherwise he will be killed, as he plays a deadly game set by the Club.

This starts off well, but then the style and the violence fall by the wayside to be replaced by the chase. And although the tension remains high throughout, that’s not enough. Vince is well drawn, and Fowler obviously knows his city, exploring it with skill, but I’m afraid it’s just not enough after the great start. This feels like a poor-man’s The Da Vinci Code, with sprinklings of China Mieville’s socialist slant.

Not a failure, this is more a missed opportunity. The clues aren’t as exciting or as solvable as The Da Vinci Code, and you end up witnessing the bizarre clues rather than following along and solving them yourself.

Could have been so much better. Promised much but ultimately failing to deliver, still not bad, but Fowler has done better.

FATHER’S LITTLE HELPER By Ronald Kelly – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2010 by stanleyriiks

There are certain things about this book that I liked. But most of it is plain and simple and slightly stupid.

The book starts off with Richard McFarland finally having enough one Christmas morning in 1978, and, finding a shotgun, goes to a church near where his car has broken down and shoots half the parishioners.

Fourteen years later, Sonny Beechum’s fascination with true crime comes to a head when he realises he is the son of Richard McFarland and goes on a rampage, heading towards the small town of Cedar Bluff where he aims to finish his father’s work.

All well and good, we’re set up for a reverse revenge tragedy, an all-out action-fest with guns blazing. And to a certain extent that’s what we get. Sonny’s actions take him across country, killing whoever gets in his way, following the instructions of his dearly departed father, whether he appears is a ghost or a figment of Sonny’s fragmented reality.

The problem is that it’s all too easy. Sonny’s a teenager with a shotgun, and yet he’s outsmarting the idiotic police department, the FBI and all the other law enforcement officers. The FBI are unwilling to get more than a single agent involved for most of the book in case the town gets scared. When they do bring some more people in, one a highly trained former soldier, he gets killed almost instantly.

The fact is it’s too easy for Sonny to go around the country killing people indiscriminately. It’s not that easy, and this is where the book falls down. There’s barely any struggle, the teenager is running rings around the police. Our “hero” is meant to be the town Sheriff, but he’s as easily duped as all the rest, and you can’t help enjoying the idiots getting their just desserts. Sonny becomes the anti-hero and you don’t want him to caught until he’s finished with these muppets.

Also we have the problem of characters. There aren’t any worth caring about, which just makes you root for the murderer even more.

Apart from the complete lack of plausibility – throwing in the dad as adviser and Sonny’s true-crime obsession are just not enough to convince us he’s a criminal mastermind – this is a nice violent action novel. I’m not sure I’d go as far as saying it’s a thriller, but there’s enough here to keep you entertained if you can forgive it its problems.

Not bad, but certainly not good. If you find a copy it’s worth reading, but I wouldn’t for a second suggest seeking it out.