Review: “A Case of Spirits” (A Charm of Magpies short) by K.J. Charles

Case of SpiritsThis short story was included in my Kindle edition of A Case of Possession (A Charm of Magpies #2).

This delightful short story doesn’t add much to the interpersonal relationship between Lord Crane and Stephen Day, but it does show how Crane and his manservant Merrick have become intricately linked with Day’s world of magician justiciars. This might have been an simple mystery, but it provided tantalizing clues to Crane’s past — and Merrick’s future.

Also, I would like to be best friends with Esther Gold.  Continue reading

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Review: Night Shift (Midnight, Texas #3) by Charlaine Harris

night shiftI quickly sped through the finale of this trilogy once it arrived in the mail. However, this was mostly to get to the end of the story rather than through any great love for the world or the characters. On the one hand, I am very satisfied with how some story lines concluded, such as the explanation for the hotel renovation and the purpose of the Reeds in Midnight.

On the other, however, this series jumped from murder mysteries solved by the town’s supernatural residents to demon wackiness awfully quickly, and the jump in this final book was a bit jarring.  Continue reading

Book Spotlight & Review: HOUNDS OF THE UNDERWORLD (Path of Ra #1) by Dan Rabarts & Lee Murray

Hounds of the UnderworldToday is release day for the newest Raw Dog Screaming Press authors: Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray! I read this book ages ago, and I’ve been so excited to share it with all of you.


ABOUT THE BOOK

On the verge of losing her laboratory, her savings, and all respect for herself, Pandora (Penny) Yee lands her first contract as scientific consult to the police department. And with seventeen murder cases on the go, the surly inspector is happy to leave her to it. Only she’s going to need to get around, and that means her slightly unhinged adopted brother, Matiu, will be doing the driving. But something about the case spooks Matiu, something other than the lack of a body in the congealing pool of blood in the locked room or that odd little bowl.

Matiu doesn’t like anything about this case, from the voices that screamed at him when he touched that bowl, to the way his hateful imaginary friend Makere has come back to torment him, to the fact that the victim seems to be tied up with a man from Matiu’s past, a man who takes pleasure in watching dogs tear each other to pieces for profit and entertainment.

Hounds of the Underworld blends mystery, near-future noir and horror. Set in New Zealand it’s the product of a collaboration by two Kiwi authors, one with Chinese heritage and the other Māori. This debut book in The Path of Ra series offers compelling new voices and an exotic perspective on the detective drama.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Raw Dog Screaming Press


REVIEW

Disclaimer: The authors and I share a publisher. I received a hardcopy version of this book as a thank you for proofing an earlier version of the text.

On the surface, this book doesn’t seem to have a lot that would appeal to me as a reader. In an alternate universe, I probably bought a copy to support the fellow authors who write for the same indie press that I do and quietly left it on a shelf with a promise to read it “someday” (sadly, true for some books in our own universe). Instead, my editor asked me to read an earlier version of the submitted text with the promise that I’d make it through the horror bits okay.

I’m glad I did. I loved so much about this book.  Continue reading

Meet Penny and Matiu from HOUNDS OF THE UNDERWORLD!

Hounds of the UnderworldThis Wednesday, a new novel from the writing team of Lee Murray and Dan Rabarts will be released from Raw Dog Screaming Press! They quickly embraced the spirit of family that I love about RDSP, and jumped on the idea when I suggested a bit of cross-promotion since our newest books are arriving a week apart. Today, I’m interviewing their main characters, while they’re returning the favor with Victory on their blogs!

Hounds of the Underworld (The Path of Ra Book One) is now available for pre-order. I’ll post my review of this excellent near-future supernatural noir murder mystery on Wednesday!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Raw Dog Screaming Press


ABOUT THE BOOK

On the verge of losing her laboratory, her savings, and all respect for herself, Pandora (Penny) Yee lands her first contract as scientific consult to the police department. And with seventeen murder cases on the go, the surly inspector is happy to leave her to it. Only she’s going to need to get around, and that means her slightly unhinged adopted brother, Matiu, will be doing the driving. But something about the case spooks Matiu, something other than the lack of a body in the congealing pool of blood in the locked room or that odd little bowl.

Matiu doesn’t like anything about this case, from the voices that screamed at him when he touched that bowl, to the way his hateful imaginary friend Makere has come back to torment him, to the fact that the victim seems to be tied up with a man from Matiu’s past, a man who takes pleasure in watching dogs tear each other to pieces for profit and entertainment.

Hounds of the Underworld blends mystery, near-future noir and horror. Set in New Zealand it’s the product of a collaboration by two Kiwi authors, one with Chinese heritage and the other Māori. This debut book in The Path of Ra series offers compelling new voices and an exotic perspective on the detective drama.


[Note: The characters in the following interview refer to me as Hanna, my real name.]

What’s your favourite place to be?

Penny: My favourite place? The lab. Without question. Partly because it’s mine — well, it will be just as soon as I can pay Dad back the money I borrowed to set it up. Even a standard benchtop DNA sequencer will put a big hole in your bank account, let alone the consumables. Anyway, the lab is my space. I love everything about it: the straight lines of the epoxy benches, the waft of cold air when I open the cold store, and the scent of Decon cleanser. I guess that’ll be the potassium hydroxide. I share the lab with my technician, Beaker. Beak came with me when I left LysisCo, my last place of employ, and he’s a real asset to Yee Scientific, although he will insist on hanging his lab coat on the wrong hook.

Matiu: Tough question. I haven’t got a favourite place so much, unless you count being behind the wheel. I like it because… going places, you know? Being on the road, the hiss of the tyres, scenery drifting by. I like driving, and I’m lucky, I know, because of my dad and the job and all, but, yeah, that’s my time. My favourite “place”, know what I mean? I like it, because it gives me a little bit of peace and quiet, in my head. Time to think for myself, without anyone else… getting to me.  Continue reading

Review: THE PURPLE HEART DETECTIVE AGENCY by Rock Neelly

purple-heart-detective-agencyThere are a lot of really great things about this “modern noir” book, which is why I kept reading until the very end. I picked it up primarily because of the disabled main characters, which is a diversity not often seen in fiction. While their combat injuries certainly informed their characters, neither men were ever defined by them. The best scenes were Clay in modern day, because his narrative voice very much evoked the old-fashioned hard-boiled detective without becoming overwhelming or dropping into cliche. Continue reading