Book Reviews, Books and Me

Review: Crash by Michael Robertson

book review

Crash by Michael Robertson 3/5

18270309.jpgChris’ life of luxury is gone, devastated by the collapse of the European economy. Gas, water, and electricity are all cut off. Food is running out. Even his wife and daughter have gone. Huddled in the smallest room of their lavish house with his petrified and dirty eight-year-old son, Chris has made the decision to stay put. A small army of psychotic scavengers is outside, hell-bent on making the once-privileged pay. Chris now knows that not leaving when he had the option was the worst decision of his life.

Cowering in his home, he watches as his neighbours are dragged into the street and brutally executed. The scavengers have one more house to go, and then it will be his turn. He has to act fast, or he and his son will meet the same fate.

Driven by the need to survive, Chris has decided to keep secrets from his son. Secrets that will make all of the events up until this point seem trivial. Secrets that, one way or another, will come out before the day is done.

Review:

I am a fan of Michael Robertson’s dystopian/ apocalyptic stories. He manages to capture the horror and fear whilst maintaining raw, believable characters. This book had a lot more graphic violence then I’m used to, and if Robertson’s aim was to shock me, he did a great job.

The narrative didn’t stray from the house and the street, but a lot happened to make your toes curl. I didn’t see one plot twist coming, and perhaps that was because even when it was revealed I couldn’t get my head around it. No spoilers, but as a parent, a certain action did not make sense. The backstory between husband and wife was present, but not the other divide.

The ending sets up book two which no doubt will be as gory and shocking as book one.


The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties

All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman

K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review

 

 

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Book Reviews, Books and Me

Review: The Alpha Plague by Michael Robertson

book-review

The Alpha Plague by Michael Robertson 4/5

25815168Rhys is an average guy who works an average job in Summit City—a purpose built government complex on the outskirts of London.

The Alpha Tower stands in the centre of the city. An enigma, nobody knows what happens behind its dark glass.

Rhys is about to find out.

At ground zero and with chaos spilling out into the street, Rhys has the slightest of head starts. If he can remain ahead of the pandemonium, then maybe he can get to his loved ones before the plague does.

Review:

I can’t say that this isn’t your typical zombie/ infection novel, but I can say that the writing was good, the narrative was believable, and the action was intense. Sometimes, we just need a little of what we know done well. The Alpha Plague was that for me.

Rhy’s motivation throughout is to get to his son. I can understand that Vicky’s participation in getting him off the island stems from guilt, but the way their relationship grows in a few hours felt a little forced. I did enjoy how they bounced off of each other, each with their own personality traits and opinions which aided in keeping them both alive.

The storyline behind the ‘release’ of the infection is well believable in this day and age. Biological warfare gone wrong is a scary thought, especially if the enemy know what you are doing and how to use it to their advantage. I hope to hear a little more about The East and what they gained from their actions in the sequel.


The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties

All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman

K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review

Guest Post

Guest Post: Phil Price on How to Pen Darkness

book review(2)

Today’s guest post comes from horror author, Phil Price. Phil has joined me today to discuss all things horror. Give yourselves five minutes with a cup of tea, and join us for some tried and tested tips on penning horror stories. Perhaps don’t turn off the lights…

Over to you, Phil.


How to Pen Darkness

Of all the various genres out there, horror is the one that excites me the most. As a reader, you want to be able to connect with the author’s story, hoping that the words conveyed spark your imagination. Other genres do this too. A good romance may bring a tear to your eye, or a fantasy yarn may ignite your imagination. However, horror is a genre that preys on your senses. To lie in bed at night, pulling the duvet up to your neck, checking the window for unseen ghouls, is not an easy feat. Plus, there are many types of horror out there. Serial killers, men in masks, vampires, demons, and ghosts, are but a few of the things that lurk in our imaginations as horror.

So, how do you write it? Tough question. I have written three horror books, centred on vampires. The market is flooded with these mysterious creatures at the moment, as it should be. Nothing should get the horror juices flowing like a good, old fashioned vampire. From Count Dracula, to Mr Barlow, for me, that is what horror is all about. Conveying that subject onto a page is the tricky part. Words on a page are just that, words. Turning the words into a scene that will draw the reader in, is no mean feat.

Many of my readers have given me different feedback. Some, said the stories terrified them. Others said they were not scary in the shocking, jump-out-of-your-seat scary sense. More of a creeping dread that settles over you whilst reading. I, like many horror authors, have taken their inspiration from the great Mr King. He has cornered the market on what scares you. Vampires, killer clowns, haunted hotels, apocalyptic worlds – King has done it all. And many of these stories have come from his own experiences. With this in mind, that is what I try to do, weave a tale from what scares me, what excites me, and what will make readers want to indulge themselves into my world.

Setting the scene is always the most important part. It’s very easy to type, “The killer came around the corner and his knife was big and menacing.” Great. There is a killer out there with a big knife, looking to harm us. Does it ignite your senses? Hell no! The environment needs to be just right to convey the fear that the reader yearns for.

So, if you said:

‘The corridor was a darkened funnel, littered with boxes and bodies. A fluorescent bulb, flickered sporadically, throwing shadows along the low-slung space. An over-powering stench coated Tim’s throat, thick and cloying, making him want to wretch. Making him want to run. A noise in the darkness raised gooseflesh on his arms, the hairs on the back of his neck prickling to attention as the noise came again. Far off, a low shuffle of heavy feet, drifted towards him, the edges of the corridor seeming to darken further. A silhouette appeared around the far corner, dark and brooding. As the light pulsed once more, it caught the edge of the object in the figures hand. Shimmering briefly as it ran along the serrated edges of the blood stained knife.’

Now, many readers might not find that scary. However, some may. It should pull the reader in further, almost placing them in the corridor with the next victim. And that’s what I would say to anyone about to start their own horror story. The person reading your book, needs to be in your book. When they are at work, or at the shops, they need to be thinking about the next chapter, hurrying back home to get the next slice of the pie.

I would also say, be brave, be creative. Don’t hold back at all. Think about what scared you as a kid and spill those emotions into your work. Others will identify with it. I hope this has been insightful. I hope above all, that you are reaching for your laptop, inspired to get cracking on the next big thing….

Good luck.


20479607_10155653386104703_7123091821070616518_nPhil Price was born in Sutton Coldfield in 1974. He lived in various places until his family settled in Rednal, Birmingham in 1979. Growing up with and older brother and sister he always flirted with reading as there were always books lying on shelves around the house. Then in 1997 he embarked on a travel expedition that took him from Greece to Thailand, via East and Southern Africa. Sitting in dusty bus stations in Kenya, Tanzania, and Malawi gave him the opportunity to ignite his imagination fully. Since those far-off days, he has never been without a book to read.

He toyed with the idea of writing a book in 2009. After writing a few short stories he caught a whiff of an idea in his head. It grew and grew in 2010 until he had enough to begin. Marriage and two children came along, with the story being moved to the back burner for periods of time. However, during those periods of writing inactivity, the story continued to evolve until it just needed to be written down.

The book was littered with places that had influenced Phil’s life. From the Lickey Hills in Birmingham, to the Amatola Mountains in South Africa with other locations, in-between and far beyond. The book was finished sometime in 2014 and was left on his computer, until a chance conversation with an author friend made Phil take the bold step to publish his story, Unknown. Unknown was re-published in 2017, as part of The Forsaken Series. The Turning is to follow on from Unknown, with a third book currently in post-production.

Where to find Phil and his books:

Facebook Author Page

Facebook Street Team

Twitter

Unknown Book One

The Turning Book Two


For use of content featured in this post, contact the author, Phil Price.

Book Reviews, Books and Me

Review: The Manningtree Account by Becky Wright

book-review

The Manningtree Account by Becky Wright 4.5/5.

6tag_291017-0447081646 – A time of English Civil War, when life is cheap, death common and superstition consumes the hearts of God-fearing folk. The life of a healer is precarious, dwelling in the shadows of normal society. Ostracised, their time running out as the self-appointed Witchfinder General scours the countryside for the Devil’s whores…

2016 – One dark night, one sleepy town, one family gripped by terror. The EAPI paranormal team are called to investigate dark poltergeist activity. But, as the eternal night finally loosens its grip, it seems that some evil deeds are never forgotten, reaching out from beyond the grave to exact their revenge…

Review:

I’m glad I picked this novella as my Halloween read. I was equally creeped out and intrigued by this ghost story that draws on the historical facts of the witch burnings. Knowing the truth of Matthew Hopkins – the Witchfinder General –  makes this tale all the more chilling.

The flitting between past and present is well written, and the suspense built in intensity over the course of the novella. That ending was something of a curve ball that had me thinking a little more about the characters, especially the outcome for Alex.

Try this novella if you are after a quick, chilling read that blends historical truths with the supernatural.


The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties

All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman

K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review

Book Reviews, Books and Me

Review: Alive at Sunset by Kayla Krantz

book-review

Alive at Sunset (Rituals of the Night #2) by Kayla Krantz 3/5

6tag_060717-064253Revenge can become an obsession of its own. After her high school experience, Luna Ketz moved on. She’s in college, studying to be a doctor and living an hour away from her old home in Lima, Ohio—where the worst of her memories lie. Three years have passed since her friend Violet’s death and the thought of that day in the woods hasn’t left her mind once. Every week, she visits the hospital where Chance Welfrey remains in a coma. She tries to move on…wants to move on…until once again she receives a phone call from Max Cazmea warning her that things may not be over just yet.

Chance, recovered from his recent coma, shows up on her doorstep. He has found a way into Luna’s life that she cannot escape—he’s dating her roommate, Amanda Grey. Back in her life once more, Chance has a list, and everyone on it ends up dead. As things escalate, Luna finds herself in a dangerous game of cat and mouse that will take all of her wits to survive.

Review:

Luna is trying to get her life back together after the terrible events of high school. The memory of Chance’s sick obsession with her still hangs over her head, and she visits the hospital every week to ensure that he has not woken up. They say, even if he does wake, he’ll have no recollection of his old life. How do they know for sure?

Krantz’s books always scare me. I think it’s Chance’s mindset that gives me the heebie jeebies. He is irratic, hell bent on revenge, and just a psycho. You never know what he is going to do. A killer you can’t escape, even in your dreams, is nightmare inducing.

Luna has the right doses of denial, fear, and anger. Her homelife- especially in regards to her parents- felt a little unbelievable, but it made sense to the narrative for Luna to distance herself from her past. Certain aspects felt out of place/ included to progress narrative. Surely Max would not have interrupted the funeral to talk to her? Wouldn’t her best friend go to the funeral and not get ready for a date?

There were a few inconsistencies, but yet again, Chance comes across as the invincible serial killer, adamant to get to Luna by any means necessary. He is a character you love to hate.

I have received an e-copy of book three in exchange for my honest opinion. I need to know how this trilogy plays out.


The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties

All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman

K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review

Book Reviews

Review: Unknown by Phil Price

Unknown by Phil Price

13401013_1196250550426360_1617762986_nBlurb:

Every year across the world thousands of people disappear.
Many return home safe and well. Some are never found. A select few end up far from home, harvested by two feuding brothers who need their blood.
How on Earth can this happen?
It doesn’t happen on Earth.

Review:

Many POV’s in different eras that could be made into novels in their own right, but the more you read, the more you realise that all the stories are intricately linked through Vampires, mystical doorways to others planes/universes/worlds, and a need to harvest human blood.

Price does a brilliant job at weaving a multitude of tales with many characters and POV’s into a master story. The world building is not so far-fetched that it is unbelievable, yet has a mystery and a sense that appeals to the fantasy/ sci-fi/ horror geek in me. The narrative and characters are in keeping with the different time eras, and in turn adds to the believability of the novel as a whole.

A new spin on the Vampire genre by throwing in a splash of sci-fi, and I appreciated that it wasn’t ‘scary’ in the conventional sense. The thriller and mystery side to the narrative is what kept the pages turning. So, if you don’t want too much gore, but are interested in a cleverly woven Vampiric tale, then this is the book for you.


The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties.

All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman

K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review.

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