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Category: thriller (Page 1 of 2)

Andrew’s Journal – Entered in ATAI 2017 Book Award Contest

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Anthony Custode Jr.

Andrew’s Journal: A novella by Anthony Custode Jr tells the story of a group of friends as they unravel the mysterious death of their friend Andrew. Told through flashbacks and entries from Andrew’s journal readers start to piece together a story that proves to be deadly for everyone involved.

Filled with twists and turns, Andrew’s Journal tries to keep its reader captivated. There are themes around abuse, young love and suicide that are well-woven into the plot and readers will appreciate the fast pace of the story. Custode’s simple writing style is easy to follow, and the characters are funny, heroic and draw the reader into their tragedies.

However, there are problems with this novella that cannot be overlooked. The inclusion of Andrew’s journal entries do not read realistically, and the reader is unaware which entries are privy to the other characters and which are evident to the reader. This muddies the plot and makes the story predictable from the first few chapters. Another aspect that is problematic is that Custode has aged his characters. The characters, who are supposed to be high school students feel old as do their romantic relationships and their actions and speech. This is also further complicated by in-depth description of sex scenes (that do not always feel necessary), and those of sexual abuse and very little other description throughout the book. The book, while attempting to offer something to the thriller genre, fails in providing a strong enough story to keep readers turning the pages.

Overall, Andrew’s Journal is a simple story that pushes its characters into a world of treachery and lies. There are some real painful themes and readers will sympathize with Megan and her friends. For this novella to be taken seriously, it needs to read more realistically both in its use of journal entries as well as in the depictions of its young characters.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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The Wolves Within Our Walls – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

5 Stars

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L.E. Flinders

The Wolves Within our Walls is a post-apocalyptic tale that follows Zoe Wilkes as she tries to survive after a global “attack” that changed the world for the worst.Taken into a utopian society, Zoe quickly forms strong bonds, assimilates to the new society and learns that her happiness and safety come at a cost.

Flinders has written a story that is tight and yet allows for imagination. The pacing can be slow at points, but readers of this genre will feel a real excitement in watching Zoe develop relationships and learning about the inner workings of the new society. Flinders has created a story that not only reads as believable but shows great insight into her understanding of the complexities of relationships. These traits coupled with a simple writing style make The Wolves Within our Walls a standout novel. The cover is very intriguing and speaks to the overall success of this novel.

The only stylistic issues with the novel are the descriptive passages about characters. Rather than discovering character traits and histories through action, Flinders gives insightful but not always helpful back stories to most main characters. It is understood that the novel serves as a “tell all book” but the information sometimes seems irrelevant and does not add to the readers understanding of a character.

The Wolves Within Our Walls is a well written and clever thriller. It builds up slowly and is not full of cheap scares and overly dramatic characters. Flinders has created a story that seems plausible and understands how human relationships morph and how trust, is difficult to earn. Overall, this is a stellar debut novel.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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The Voynich Gambit – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Quintin Peterson

In Quintin Peterson’s The Voynich Gambit, Special Police Officer Lt. Norman Blalock is caught amid a dangerous situation. On the heels of another botched heist, notorious artifact dealer Rupert Whyte plots to steal a mysterious treasure from the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. As the double-crossed “inside man,” Norman must do everything he can to stop Whyte from doing so. Meanwhile, his only ally is the beautiful Kavitha Netram, but even she has secret intentions. They both want to be free from Whyte’s demanding orders, but that is much easier said than done.

From the very beginning, it is obvious that The Voynich Gambit is a sequel to another book. It jumps right back into the action, which is certainly exciting, but also confusing for new readers who happen to read this book before its predecessor. It is difficult to determine who the characters are, how they relate to one another, and what is generally going on without having read the first book (Guarding Shakespeare); for that reason, The Voynich Gambit is not a good standalone novel. Also, The Voynich Gambit’s plot tends to seem complicated and oddly paced, making it difficult to follow for much of the book.

Despite the occasional confusion, The Voynich Gambit is a fascinating novel. Written in a noir style and with an equal representation of modern culture and historical references, The Voynich Gambit is a well-balanced and intriguing mystery novel. Quintin Peterson is an excellent writer with a flair for gripping mysteries, which is clearly evident in this book. The Voynich Gambit is a great noir mystery, but prospective readers should certainly consider reading Guarding Shakespeare first, if they should have any hope of following along with this installment.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Feathers in the Wind – Entered in 2017 Book Award Contest

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Lynn Case

In Lynn Case’s Feathers in the Wind, Catherine is left heartbroken and widowed after the sudden death of her beloved husband, S.J. She does the best she can to move on, ultimately deciding to pursue her dream of owning a ranch in Wyoming. Soon after she moves to Wyoming, however, mysterious events begin to unfold. Cattle are being horrifically slaughtered, and a shadowy stranger is seen lurking around the perimeters of her land. She enlists the help of her ranch hands and a Native American chief to get to the bottom of this mystery, but she soon discovers that there might be more to these events- including S.J.’s death- than meets the eye.

Feathers in the Wind is a bit of a difficult book to read, largely because of its dire need of thorough editing. There was hardly a single sentence in the entire novel that didn’t contain some sort of error. Aside from that, the general narrative was also grossly inconsistent. Painfully slow in some areas and rushing through others, the pacing needs work. Also, the constant shifts in perspective and time frame grew to be confusing rather quickly.

These drawbacks are truly quite a shame, because it’s clear that Lynn Case had an interesting idea in her mind. The bare plot of Feathers in the Wind was intriguing and certainly holds a great deal of potential. It features a unique blend of mystery, drama, and western literature that seems rather promising. The story is there, but it’s not executed nearly as well as it could be. With some comprehensive editing and a bit of fine-tuning, Feathers in the Wind could be an excellent novel. It just needs a bit of help to get there.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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The Perfect Square – Entered in 2017 Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Isobel Blackthorn

In Isobel Blackthorn’s A Perfect Square, pianist Ginny moves back in with her mother after a particularly difficult break-up. Her mother, Harriet, is a secluded and eccentric artist with little time for her daughter’s wallowing. Disheartened by Ginny’s sadness, Harriet proposes a creative collaboration to lift her spirits, an exhibition pairing her art and her daughter’s music. Ginny reluctantly agrees to the project, unaware of the emotional renaissance in store for them. Meanwhile, another mother-daughter pair halfway across the world is enduring an eerily similar situation, perhaps connected in more ways than they might first believe.

A Perfect Square is not the ideal book for light, easy reading. On the contrary, it’s quite wordy, with complicated, winding phrases and ideas that can be difficult to follow. Though it’s certainly skillfully written, it’s rather dense. In fact, perhaps it is too much so. The separate, yet interconnected story lines, along with the constant jumping back and forth between past and present, made for an almost frustratingly intricate read. A Perfect Square has an aura of modernized classical literature about it, but at times, it just felt like it was trying too hard.

However, there is much to be appreciated in this novel. Isobel Blackthorn’s exploration of dysfunctional family relationships was particularly interesting and detailed. With a backdrop of artistic creativity, the whole of A Perfect Square had an almost mystical feel to it. This novel is a work of art in itself, albeit a more complicated one than the average reader might like.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Beautiful Masterpiece – Entered in Romance Novel Contest

5 Stars

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Gen Ryan

Romance and serial killers have never met more seamlessly than in Gen Ryan’s Beautiful Masterpiece. We are treated to a love triangle between three characters that unfolds against the background of gruesome murder, fractured childhoods, and tuggings of the heart. Madison Walsh is a strong, smart heroine that draws us into a story where her serial killer father is on the hunt for her and those closest to her.

There are some intriguing characters in both Madison, and the FBI agent Liam and Scott, and overall Ryan has provided us with characters whose background stories are as twisted as the budding romances and fast paced plot. This is a welcome change for romance readers who care about literature and a well-structured story.  The book is peppered with explosive romance scenes which are varied enough in their intensity to ensure that there is a little something for everyone. Being a book for mature audiences, there are descriptions of domestic abuse and sexual torture which may not sit well with all readers. That being said the novel is easy to read, and the fast paced action makes it a page turner.

The only problem with the book is that urgency of a serial killer on the loose is not keenly felt. Madison does not seem scared nor does her fathers’ stalking presence appear to lower her libido. Her constant craving for Scott seems unrealistic at times. However, the second half of the book makes up for this in its action and nail-biting interactions between the killer Walsh and the trio of characters that you come to care for deeply.

Beautiful Masterpiece is a story that puts a strong heroine in the spotlight. It is refreshing to see characters with motivation in a romance novel that could have been very cliched and one dimensional.  The romance is hot, and you won’t find a romance novel that weaves the genres of thriller and romance quite like Beautiful Masterpiece.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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To Fool an Assassin – Entered in Romance Novel Contest


4 Stars

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India Kells

To Fool an Assassin is the first novel in India Kells’ Women of Purgatory series. Gabrielle is an ex-mercenary who is now working for an organization called Purgatory, which specializes in dangerous rescue missions. Her latest assignment is to rescue a Navy SEAL who has been captured in South Africa; once the rescue is completed, however, the real trouble begins. There is a traitor in their midst, sending Gabrielle and Captain Sullivan Thorne on the run. Meanwhile, there is an attraction between them that cannot be ignored, even amidst the danger lurking around every corner.

To Fool an Assassin certainly doesn’t waste any time getting to the sexually explicit bits, that’s for sure. The romantic tension between the main characters is written strongly and evident from their first meeting. However, it does have a very rushed feel to it; there isn’t much actual compatibility or development beyond the initial sexual attraction. Also, while the plot around the romance has great potential, it seems very watery and underdeveloped.

Despite its rather poor development, To Fool an Assassin is very entertaining. It is full of suspense, intrigue, and bold sexuality; combined, these factors make it an exciting novel. India Kells is a creative and descriptive writer, and her characters are engaging and witty. The story, although not quite reaching its potential, is well-written and enjoyable to read. To some extent, its flaws are forgivable, since To Fool an Assassin is captivating regardless.

Originally reviewed by the staff of AuthorsTalkAboutIt.com.

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Target in the Sun – Entered in Romance Novel Contest


4 Stars

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Lynda Filler

Target in the Sun, written by Lynda Filler, is a very unusual approach to a romance novel.  Embedded with a wealth of suspense, heartbreak, hope and love, this story focuses on a romance between Carlos and Mia.  The story explores the Mexican drug cartel and trafficking between Mexico and numerous cities in the United States while it takes a deep dive into Carlos’ life.  He was orphaned at a young age and fought hard to overcome his tragic situation.  Eventually, he fell in love with Mia and together they find love and compassion again.  Lynda Filler shares this love story from the perspective of a decorated FBI agent, Lucia, who risks her entire career to help these two lovers escape the ultimate dangers they face from the Mexican drug cartel.  

Writing Target in the Sun in a journal entry style, Filler gives the reader a unique look into the characters.  This does lead to over 100 chapters, but many are only a few paragraphs in length.  The format is quite a different take and may not be to the liking of some tried and true romance novel fans.  However, this particular way of experiencing the story can be quite refreshing, and  when it comes to refreshing, the author does a fabulous job of painting a picture of the Puerto Vallarta area.  Wrapping readers up in the story goes well beyond descriptive imagery of Mexican locations though.  Expressing the intensity of Carlos and Mia’s experiences is something Filler does easily while she takes readers along for the ride.  This could be a great book for readers looking for a suspense-filled romance with a unique twist in writing style.

Originally reviewed by the staff of AuthorsTalkAboutIt.com.

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2016 Horror Novel Contest Winner – Drawing Dead

Today’s Featured Author and Book

Drawing Dead

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Book Description:

Faolan O’Connor spent his life killing for men like Legs Diamond and Lucky Luciano, and now it s his turn to face the music. But when vampire Darcy Killian offers him immortality, Faolan enters a world of violence, wealth, and power beyond anything he s ever imagined.

Driven by ambition and guilt, Faolan fights his way up the ranks in a battle to justify his sins with success. He s learned the hard way that relationships are vulnerabilities and friends are just enemies in disguise, but he also knows that he can t conquer a city alone.

Aided by an emotionally-crippled genius and a warm-hearted call girl, Faolan builds a loyal crew with which to challenge the tyrannical Killian s rule. However, will this re-awakened humanity prove a fatal flaw or his ace in the hole? With his life and the future of the city he loves at stake, can Faolan play his cards right or is he drawing dead?


Notes: 

Drawing Dead (Faolon O’Connor Book 1) takes you back to the 1930s era of organized crime when mobsters, gangsters and mafia bosses were somewhat common.  Yet, author Brian McKinley has written a book that is far from stereotypical.  Why?  Because Faolan O’Connor isn’t just a gangster, he’s a freshly turned vampire.  The expectations of those above him aren’t necessarily difficult for this tough-as-nails, cold-hearted killer or are they?  Faolan’s superiors test him, and his so-called friends willingly turn their backs on each other to save their own necks.  Whether or not McKinley’s young vampire will succeed in this new world or whether he’ll finally end up dead remains to be seen.

From the get go, readers will likely be captivated by the cover.  It fully captures the essence of Drawing Dead.  Vampires don’t run around announcing to the world what they are, and the secrets that are fluidly woven throughout Drawing Dead are reflected not only from the cover but from page one.  Admittedly, the scenes do jump around a bit, which can make it a little confusing at times.  But there is so much action and intrigue embedded within the storyline that this is an aspect that can almost be overlooked.  McKinley does a great job offering readers the opportuntiy to take a look at their own values and morals as Faolon seems to reconnect with his humanness.  Of course, this may end up ending his life.  Highly recommended – readers can feel the danger, the excitement and the horror of a vampiric gangster life in this pragmatic tale. 

Originally critiqued by the staff of AuthorsTalkAboutIt.com


Brian McKinley

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Brian Patrick McKinley doesn’t really exist. He’s a constructed mortal identity used by a relatively young Vampyr in order to publish the truth about The Order. Due to the world-wide influence of The Order and its minions, these accounts must all be published as fiction; however, they are all very real and actually happened. Sometimes the names and sequence of events have been changed to protect the innocent, the guilty, and to keep from getting sued. 

Brian is no longer a typical Vampyr and, for this reason, lives in hiding and writes from a secret location. The real “Brian” lives a life of danger and excitement; he loves Star Trek, Game of Thrones, and Boardwalk Empire as much as he loves Chicken Fried Steak. He’s a reader, a role-player, and a dreamer who doesn’t believe that “liberal” is a dirty word. He’s lived many lifetimes and is eager to share as many of them as possible with his readers.

 


If you enjoy these author interviews be sure you subscribe to Authors Talk About It via iTunes or follow on Podbean and get your copy of Drawing Dead.


Peace and Love,

Rob and Janelle

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Authors join our Creative Author Marketing Facebook group

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A place to share tips, advice and wisdom about marketing your book. Ask for advice. We’re here for you!

Traveling entrepreneurs, Drs. Rob + Janelle Alex, Ph.D. are mentoring entrepreneurs and authors around the world. As best selling authors, speakers, marketing and branding experts their podcast Authors Talk About It has become quite popular.

We help you develop 3 key things you MUST have to gain success with your book.

Your Mindset
Your Tool Set
Your Skill Set


Have you checked out the 2017 Romance Novel Contest yet? Deadline is 1/15/17

Book awards give you clout and credibility!

2017 Romance Novel Contest

Whether you’re a first time author or a New York Times Best Seller this book award contest is for you.

Are you ready for the chance to be an award-winning author?  

Yes!  Excellent!

Click here to learn more and enter!

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The Unholy

Today’s Featured Author and Book

The Unholy: A Novel

Click to get your copy!

Book Description:

A young curandera, a medicine woman, intent on uncovering the secrets of her past is forced into a life-and-death battle against an evil Archbishop. Set in the mystic land of Aztlan, “The Unholy” is a novel of destiny as healer and slayer. Native lore of dreams and visions, shape changing, and natural magic work to spin a neo-gothic web in which sadness and mystery lure the unsuspecting into a twilight realm of discovery and decision. PAUL DeBLASSIE III, PhD, is a psychologist and writer living in his native New Mexico. A member of the Depth Psychology Alliance, the Transpersonal Psychology Association, and the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, he has for over thirty years treated survivors of the dark side of religion.


Notes: 

The dark and frightening depths of radical religious leaders, as well as their followers, is blatantly displayed in Paul DeBlassie III’s book, The Unholy.  Claire Sanchez is a woman who continues to deny to herself or anyone else that she is a medicine woman, a healer.  Tragedy in her childhood pushed her away such acceptance.  Yet, she ultimately has no choice but to face her own personal demons as evil surrounds her from the bowels of the church or is it, in this case, really the bowels of Hell?  The Ecclesia Dei, a “wealthy, centuries-old church”, maintains control over its members and the community through the manipulations of Archbishop William Anarch.  Not only does Claire have to choose her path spiritually, but DeBlassie interweaves the challenge of choosing her path in other areas of her life, including her love life.  The question really is whether or not Claire will be able to make her own decision – that is, if she is even allowed to survive. 

 
Paul DeBlassie III, Ph.D. has crafted a tale of tragedy and upheaval with a full scoop of mystery mixed in.  Readers may be shocked at the psychotic and twisted mind of not only Archbishop Anarch, but of others around him.  This thriller will keep readers turning pages with bated breath.  DeBlassie’s ability to paint a picture with words helps readers easily imagine the details of each scene.  Though the plot is complex, and one readers need to give their full attention to, it is a story that will have them anxious to find out what happens next.  The Unholy will lead readers on a path to wonder what really is holy as well as what really is unholy.   
 
 
Originally critiqued by staff of AuthorsTalkAboutIt.com

Paul DeBlassie III
photo

Paul DeBlassie III, Ph.D., is a psychologist and writer living in Albuquerque, New Mexico who has treated survivors of the dark side of religion for more than 30 years. He is a member of the Depth Psychology Alliance, the Transpersonal Psychology Association and the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. Dr. DeBlassie writes psychological thrillers with an emphasis on the dark side of the human psyche. In The Unholy, a young curandera, a medicine woman, intent on uncovering the secrets of her past is forced into a life-and-death battle against an evil archbishop. Set in the mystic land of Aztlan, the Unholy is a novel of destiny as healer and slayer. Native lore of dreams and visions lure the unsuspecting into a twilight realm of discovery and decision.

 


If you enjoy these author interviews be sure you subscribe to Authors Talk About It via iTunes or follow on Podbean and get your copy of The Unholy.


Peace and Love,

Rob and Janelle

Smaller

 


Authors join our Creative Author Marketing Facebook group

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 11.30.22 AM

A place to share tips, advice and wisdom about marketing your book. Ask for advice. We’re here for you!

Traveling entrepreneurs, Drs. Rob + Janelle Alex, Ph.D. are mentoring entrepreneurs and authors around the world. As best selling authors, speakers, marketing and branding experts their podcast Authors Talk About It has become quite popular.

We help you develop 3 key things you MUST have to gain success with your book.

Your Mindset
Your Tool Set
Your Skill Set


Have you checked out the 2016 Horror Novel Book Contest yet? Deadline is 9/30/16

Book awards give you clout and credibility!

2016 Horror Book Contest

Whether you’re a first time author or a New York Times Best Seller this book award contest is for you.

Are you ready for the chance to be an award-winning author?  

Yes!  Excellent!

Click here to learn more and enter!

Please like & share:

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