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Category Archives: Indie or Self Pubbed

Bitten (A Lauren Westlake Mystery) by Dan O’Brien

BittenBitten by Dan O’Brien
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lauren Westlake is an F.B.I. agent who becomes enthralled by a cold case she discovers. Dating back a century there have been several violent murders in different places of the country. What ties them together with an impossible timeline is the fact that all the victims are torn and shredded in the same manner by, seemingly, the same weapon.

It had been speculated that these were some sort of animal attack but as Lauren reviews the cases she is intrigued by the hints of a supernatural cause.

Using a vacation as an excuse to investigate on her own she travels to Locke, Minnesota where the latest victim has been found.

Here is the book summary:A predator stalks a cold northern Minnesotan town. There is talk of wolves walking on two legs and attacking people in the deep woods. Lauren Westlake, resourceful and determined F.B.I Agent, has found a connection between the strange murders in the north and a case file almost a hundred years old. Traveling to the cold north, she begins an investigation that spirals deep into the darkness of mythology and nightmares. Filled with creatures of the night and an ancient romance, the revelation of who hunts beneath the moon is more grisly than anyone could have imagined.

This did not turn out to be your typical werewolf story. Elements of horror, police procedural and Urban Fantasy give Bitten a wide appeal.

I enjoyed the relationship Lauren strikes up with the small-town Sheriff and his officers. As the story progressed I was unsure of how things were going to turn out and, indeed, I was surprised by the turn of events.

I had a hard time reconciling the smart and savvy F.B.I. agent Lauren with the scattered Lauren that meets Dominic, a mysterious new-comer to Locke. Though it is most likely meant to portray an attraction between Lauren and Dominic and her feeling that there was something off about him, it was unclear and stood out for me. I also wanted a bit more character development. More meat on the secondary characters as well. (No pun intended.) Other than that I did enjoy the story and I see a huge potential for future Lauren Westlake novels.

I am looking forward to more from Dan O’Brien in this series.

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Born Lucky, The JD Chronicles by Christine Dougherty

Born Lucky (The JD Chronicles) Born Lucky (The JD Chronicles) by Christine Dougherty

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Christine Dougherty was born to write.

In previous works Christine has tackled Horror, Speculative Fiction, and Mystery. In Born Lucky, Urban Fantasy and Suspense . She does each one of these very, very well. Her writing easily pulls her reader in to the story she is weaving and compells us to continue to turn page after page until the story is told.

In Born Lucky the author introduces us to a unique and likeable character; JD.

As a young boy, JD receives a gift and a curse in the form of psychic abilities.

One form that manifests is the ability to hold a newspaper article and receive a vision of the events described in the article. This also poses a risk in that JD suffers physically some of what the subject of the article suffers. This can injure or kill him and it, as well as other abilities, causes him to retreat from society at a very young age.

His choice of refuge? A secluded mental hospital.

Nora, an administrator in the hospital who understands why JD is really there just cant help slipping these articles to JD when she thinks he can help. This is how his adventures in Born Lucky begin.

Here is th book summary from the author: At three days old, JD was blown clear of the explosion that killed his mysterious parents and set him on a path of uneasy discovery. A reluctant psychic, JD chooses to live in the safe world of a mental institution, unable to control the things he ‘sees’…sometimes with unwelcome, and even dangerous, consequences.

Join JD as he tries to help find a young couple who go missing in the forbidding Pine Barrens of South Jersey.

I liked JD a lot. He is unsure of himself and afraid of the world outside of the institution. Cynical yet vulnerable, he starts off somewhat cowardly once he is pressured in to helping find two missing teens but starts to feel things differently as he connects to a park ranger and starts to see the small world he has created for himself. You still like him but even better, you like how his character grows. By the end of Born Lucky, I loved JD and as a bonus found the secondary characters in the story just as likeable.

I truly hope Christine publishes another JD book soon. The combined elements of suspense, horror, humor and realistic human emotion really hooked me. I foresee a successful, enjoyable series that will draw the attention of readers who enjoy many types of genres.

I recommend this to Horror, Suspense, and Urban Fantasy lovers!

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Heaven Again by HC Turk

Heaven AgainHeaven Again by HCTurk
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 Stars!

Heaven Again is heart wrenching in it’s depiction of the rape and murder of a child and how it affects the parents of this girl. In it you will not find the expected reaction from the parents who are mourning their daughter. There are no scenes of mutual comfort and commiseration between husband and wife. There are no gatherings of supportive family members to ease pain and take care of the minutiae of day to day life chores as the parents grieve.

Glenn and Janet Alden deal with their pain and anger much differently and separate from each other.

Glenn, having escaped prison for killing the man who murdered his six year old daughter, disappears into the anonymity of a handyman who does not speak. Janet becomes an increasingly angry and hateful person, throwing herself in to work so she cannot think or feel. Both are spiraling toward the inevitability of madness unless a miracle occurs and it is uncomfortable to watch.

This, to me, makes the persons of Glenn and Janet Alden real. I ached for their pain and hoped for sanity and acceptance to heal them.

HC Turk tells a compelling story, while at times it loses fluidity, it makes up for it in heart. A worthwhile read that will touch you in many ways.

Book Summary: Six-year-old Jeanine Alden is murdered by Frank Hynek. He is tried and convicted. During the sentencing hearing, the girl’s father, Glenn, kills Hynek. Though tried for this killing, Glenn is acquitted. Then he walks away from his life, and from his wife, Janet. Both parents then have to recover from their child’s death, Glenn’s sad, disastrous vengeance, and his desperate escape. Death, despair, and revenge are the three evils that Glenn and Janet Alden defeat in Heaven Again, a novel that ultimately is ingratiating and uplifting in depicting the profound reunion of husband and wife.

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Posted by on November 26, 2011 in Drama, Indie or Self Pubbed

 

Transmat World by Glen Hendrix

Transmat WorldTransmat World by Glen Hendrix
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am so impressed with this novel. As far as I know, and I have checked, this is a debut novel from Glen Hendrix. I have to stress DEBUT before I proceed with the review because it will start to sound as if I am reviewing a well established Science Fiction writer. There is a tendency for reviewers to give overly optimistic review ratings because it is so very hard to give a lukewarm one to a writer you have been corresponding with. I do not do this even though it is very stressful for me. I shudder when an author reads a review I have written but I have to be honest in my opinion.

Having said all of that….Glen Hendrix is STELLAR! Glen Hendrix is my new best friend! I am now the official Glen Hendrix fan club President whether he likes it or not! OK, OK, review time….

Transmat World opens in Jakarta, 2045 A.D. Daniel Fulbright, a businessman is wrapping things up and getting ready to leave his hotel room for the airport. The world has been made aware of an asteroid that will pass close to Earth but will not strike and since this has happened many times before it is basically ignored. Daniel sees the asteroid skipping across the sky then a blinding flash which immediately tells Daniel that this asteroid did not miss. What ensues is a very realistic and frightening race for Daniel and a few others he has rescued to get to a safe haven Daniel thinks will survive the devastation the impact will cause. You are completely immersed in this scene. Glen Hendrix understands the consequences of this type of disaster and he uses that knowledge to great success. I was left reeling.
Much to my surprise, we are then taken into the future of Earth and it’s recovery from the asteroid. More importantly, we are introduced to Vince Miller as a college student and his brilliant father who invents a teleportation technology called Transmat. This amazing technology can do wonderful things for all types of applications but it also results in the downfall of any transportation business as well as others and eventually a crash of the world market. Vince and especially his father become hated but Transmat technology is bigger than any hate and Vince goes on to lead the company to even higher success including his dream to use Transmat to explore space and eventually find sentient life there.

Then the author sends us back hundreds of thousands of years into the past and millions of light-years from Earth to another society which is somewhat more advanced than us but a more brutal society geared towards the hunt of lesser species on their planet. Among these people, the Kolpak, is a hunter who has become bored with his prey and commissions a robot to be made to challenge him. Through a series of events, this robot has unintentionally been given freewill and the intelligence of it’s creator. It gives itself a name, Maxlux, and decides it’s his duty to stop all higher life forms that kill those less than them. Then Maxlux builds a ship, a really big one and decides to travel the universe in search of more civilizations to stop and Earth is in his path.

In Transmat World, Glen Hendrix creates a civilization of robots that are human-like with their intelligence and emotions. You follow them and their struggle to free themselves from Maxlux and his mission. You also see the history of Earth evolve as the leader of the freed robots tries to prepare our civilization to combat Maxlux. It is fascinating and very personal. In spite of it’s far reaching timeline this book draws you in to the lives of human and robot alike. I became completely invested in the characters. More importantly, there is a lot of hard science in this story but Glen Hendrix made it approachable and completely interesting.

There is no way I can do this book justice with my limited writing skills. I can not stress enough how epic this novel truly is. I can compare it to the likes of Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle with their brilliant books The Mote in God’s Eye and Lucifer’s Hammer which is the highest praise I can give.

Transmat World has been added to my all-time favorite books right alongside of those works of Niven and Pournelle. I cannot recommend this story enough.

Here is the book summary: Nine hundred thousand years ago in a galaxy right next door–the Greater Magellanic Cloud–an artificial intelligence is created to be a hunter’s prey. An accident produces a maniacal machine that destroys the civilization that created it and proclaims itself the Prime Mechanical and Supreme Arbiter of Known and Unknown Existence. With a space ship the size of the orbit of Mercury and an army of strikemechs, it prowls the Milky Way for sentient organics.

In the year 2045, the asteroid Isadora strikes off the west coast of Java, killing billions. Post-Hit Earth comes to realize the capricious nature of the cosmic weather forecast and begins to plan accordingly. Just when things are looking up, along comes Transmat (the first teleportation device) and the world’s economy collapses. The inventor is assassinated, leaving his son, Vince, to deal with a planet that hates him and a fast-approaching Supreme Arbiter.

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