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Julie Lewthwaite (Sunderland, UK)
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Though Your Sins Be Scarlet (Europa City Book 2)
Though Your Sins Be Scarlet (Europa City Book 2)
Price: 1.93

5.0 out of 5 stars A wild ride in Europa City, 17 Nov 2012
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Europa City is rank with corruption. Everyone, it seems, is on the take and on the make. Sajer has secrets and desires, and is nursing a powerful ambition. Sword has a mission of his own to drive him on. Slinky has cleaned up his act, taken the hard road to getting clean, and is looking for a payoff for his efforts. Kurt Brecht is in disgrace and back in uniform, on patrol and on the booze, but off the drugs. Lady Methedrine has vanished from the radar.

And all hell breaks loose. Players jockey for position, egos are flexed, battle lines are drawn, pawns are sacrificed, the populace are manipulated, and the Lady is back ...

Leon Steelgrave skilfully draws the various threads of the story together, weaving a colourful tapestry in the process, and positioning everything perfectly for the explosive finale.

Though Your Sins Be Scarlet is set one year on from White Vampyre and drives the narrative forward relentlessly to the powerful conclusion of the second instalment of the Europa City series.

And it's all set up beautifully for the final part of the trilogy, The Violet Hour. I can't wait to see how it all plays out!


More Stories About Drugs, Sex & Violence
More Stories About Drugs, Sex & Violence
Price: 0.77

5.0 out of 5 stars Deep, dark and utterly delicious, 2 Sep 2012
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If you like your humour black as pitch, your narrative unflinching, and your stories to take any route to their conclusion other than the obvious, then Leon Steelgrave's More Stories About Drugs, Sex & Violence is for you.

This is a terrific collection of tales, layered, nuanced, and richly rendered. Some run the gamut of badness from the small wickednesses men (and women) do to global acts of destruction. Others detail surreal and even sometimes playful stories of the weird and the wonderful.

There isn't a poor story in the entire collection, which makes it all the harder to pick out just a couple for special praise. I managed to, though, and my personal favourites are the wonderfully vengeful and twisted Another Nail in my Coffin and the darkly humorous (it really did make me laugh out loud) Tracks. Today, anyway. Ask me tomorrow and I might tell you my favourites are the wickedly funny Death and Taxes and the all too believable The Mythographer. Ask me the day after that and it might be something different again.

And that's exactly how this collection grabs you. It's a wonderfully eclectic tapestry with each panel beautifully woven, perfectly presented, and entire in itself.

I wholeheartedly recommend that you grab Mr Steelgrave's More Stories About Drugs, Sex & Violence before it grabs you. Which it will. By the throat. And it won't let go. And while you're on, pick up novels White Vampyre and A Pauper's Shroud. They're wonderful. You'll thank me. You're welcome.


A Pauper's Shroud
A Pauper's Shroud
Price: 1.91

5.0 out of 5 stars A Pauper's Shroud, 10 July 2012
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This review is from: A Pauper's Shroud (Kindle Edition)
A serial rapist, a missing child, an arsonist ... the pressure's on for newly promoted DI Morag Munro and the rest of Inverness's Crime Support Services Unit.

A Pauper's Shroud is a cleverly plotted and extremely well written novel that looks at people, the evil they do, and the fallout from it. The characters and the sense of place come through very strongly and add to the atmosphere, and the twists and turns will keep you turning the pages right to the end. Brilliantly entertaining and highly enjoyable, if you like your crime dark and gritty, A Pauper's Shroud will definitely appeal. I'm looking forward to reading more about DI Munro, and to many more books from Leon Steelgrave. Very highly recommended indeed.


Mr. Glamour
Mr. Glamour
by Richard Godwin
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.24

5.0 out of 5 stars To die for, 17 Jun 2012
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This review is from: Mr. Glamour (Paperback)
London's smart set are used to being watched. They expect it. Possessed of immense wealth coupled with physical beauty, they live to be seen in the right places, with the right people, all wearing the right brands.

If they knew Mr Glamour was watching them, however, they'd very likely stay at home.

Mr Glamour understands them: how they think, how they behave, what they value. And that makes him all the more dangerous as he stalks and destroys them.

As members of the jet set are picked off one by one, it falls to Chief Inspector Jackson Flare and his partner Inspector Mandy Steele to investigate the series of horrific killings. Flare and Steele face a wall of silence from the friends of the dead, people who are likely to become victims themselves. Meanwhile the killer plays his games, taunting the police, terrifying the wealthy, stirring deep, dark secrets that have long lain hidden and now threaten to overwhelm all concerned.

Mr Glamour is a cleverly plotted, sharply observed, vividly presented psychological police procedural with a powerful ending that I didn't see coming. It had me hooked from the start and kept me turning pages long into the night. It cements Richard Godwin's reputation as a master of the dark and disturbing, yet beautifully written, crime/horror hybrid novel. Unreservedly recommended.


MCMURDO SOUND
MCMURDO SOUND
Price: 0.77

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feel the chill at McMurdo Sound, 25 Feb 2012
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This review is from: MCMURDO SOUND (Kindle Edition)
McMurdo Sound, in Antarctica, is the end of the world. At least, that's how it seems. It's no place for people, that's for sure.

And yet there are people there: isolated, imprisoned by their job, trapped by the weather in one of the bleakest wastelands on the planet.

There are a limited number of things to do to pass the time, playing games and telling stories being the main ones. And when the narrator is befriended by Brian, a man who has already been at McMurdo Sound for two years when he arrives there, he finds himself in the company of a man better at both those things than he is.

For Brian's stories seem real. He makes them come to life.

The story is wonderfully written, a taut, suspenseful piece with not a wasted word. The pace is unhurried, the fear builds steadily and the denouement is as devastating as it is inevitable.

I urge you to take a trip to McMurdo Sound: you will find it to be a truly chilling experience.


Watch You Drown
Watch You Drown

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute gem of a collection, 22 Feb 2012
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This review is from: Watch You Drown (Kindle Edition)
I know I'm not the only one to have been excited at the prospect of a published collection of Chris Rhatigan's short fiction, and `Watch You Drown' certainly doesn't disappoint. There are fourteen tales here and while each has its roots firmly in the traditions of classic noir, the stories very much inhabit the contemporary world.

These are stories about people who for the most part live on the fringes of society: if they have a job, they earn minimum wage, if they have a dream, they won't ever see it realised. A nice counterpoint to this are tales about people who have simply been pushed too far, people who are put under such extreme pressure that they snap. A common theme is the potent combination of bad luck and bad decisions.

It's difficult to single out favourites from such a strong collection, but I'll try. `Skinny Latte' is a darkly funny cautionary tale about the dangers of making someone work hard for something, then denying them the right to use it, and anyone who has ever worked in retail will understand exactly where `Service With a Smile' is coming from. Finally, `Administrative Segregation' is a bite-sized story that shows more about character and the situation than many full-length novels.

`Watch You Drown' is an absolute gem of a collection, and a must-have for any fans of contemporary gritty crime stories. Very highly recommended.


The Lamplighters
The Lamplighters
Price: 3.30

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A frighteningly good book!, 15 Feb 2012
This review is from: The Lamplighters (Kindle Edition)
Marla Neuborn's life is a mess. No money, no job, soon to be homeless ... so when she is offered what amounts to a new start, she jumps at the chance, driven as much as drawn to the opportunity of a job on Meditrine Island. It's a long way away, isolated, she'll be out of touch with the world for a year -- but so what? She has no one to miss and no one who will miss her.

Once there, the seemingly easy and idyllic lifestyle as a Lamplighter -- someone who keeps the houses of wealthy owners clean and tidy, runs appliances and lights the lamps every day -- turns out to be rather different than Marla had imagined.

As the days go by, the questions stack up: who are the mysterious, absent owners of the lavish homes on Meditrine? What is causing the deaths of the small animals whose bodies Marla is finding around the island? Who is peeping in windows? And why is security so intense?

If you think The Lamplighters starts well (and it does -- very) wait until you see how it ends. Frazer Lee expertly builds up the tension, taking the reader on a hell of journey to a horrifying climax.

The Skin Mechanic awaits. He will give you nightmares. Accept this as a fair price to pay for the pleasure of reading The Lamplighters.


White Vampyre (Europa City Book 1)
White Vampyre (Europa City Book 1)
Price: 1.91

5.0 out of 5 stars A blisteringly good novel!, 3 Feb 2012
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Kurt Brecht is seeking to right wrongs and bring the bad guys to justice and for him the ends will always justify the means. Driven as much by events in his past as by the high stakes he is playing for in the present, Brecht is an avenging angel, albeit one with a pocket full of thrill pills and a smart one-liner for every occasion.

When Brecht gets into what, even for him, is extremely serious trouble, his childhood rescuer, father-figure and mentor, Guyon Sajer, takes his journal. It's no secret that Brecht is a wild card and Sajer has protected him for as long as he could, but the journal reveals secrets that even he could never have guessed.

In the telling of White Vampyre, Steelgrave plays around with both timelines and perceptions, but very cleverly and in a way that enhances rather than confuses the story. From the start, the book races along at breakneck speed. The opening scenes are stark and powerful and tell you everything you need to know about Brecht. He's a terrific character: imperfect, complex, single-minded, and with an unshakeable sense of justice. As the tension ramps up and the body count gets higher, only the mysterious Lady Methedrine keeps her cool. But who is she? And what part does she play in the events that have taken Brecht to the edge?

White Vampyre is a fast, furious, page-turner of a book. It's dark, violent and deadly, exploring issues of power, exploitation, sacrifice, addiction, greed and integrity. It's a blisteringly good novel for a writer at any stage of their career, and especially impressive as a debut. I loved it. I recommend it unreservedly.


Getting High on Daisy Volume Five Drunk on the Moon
Getting High on Daisy Volume Five Drunk on the Moon

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Drunk on the Moon - Getting High on Daisy, 12 Oct 2011
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Getting High on Daisy is the fifth instalment in the Drunk in the Moon series and arguably the first to show Roman Dalton in his element. He's more Cujo than Diefenbaker, far more animal than human. He's certainly no puppy dog. And it's fantastic to see that side of the character.

Richard Godwin is one of the most exciting writers to emerge in recent times. His writing is dark and lyrical, beautifully crafted, and while he never includes words or scenes purely for shock value, he never shies away from showing us the truth of a story.

Getting High on Daisy is a wild ride. Roman Dalton is dangerous, feral, visceral. And so is Daisy.


Death By Sarcasm (The First Mary Cooper Mystery)
Death By Sarcasm (The First Mary Cooper Mystery)

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific debut novel, 19 Sep 2011
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Death by Sarcasm is a terrific read: a brilliant cast of characters, great dialogue, biting wit, plenty of action ... and revenge. What more could a reader want? Mary Cooper is a wonderful creation: spiky and acerbic, she wears her one-liners like armour and yet can't disguise the fierce loyalty and vulnerability that are also elements of her nature. I hope this isn't the only time we see her in action. Cooper is something special - mouthy, brash, intelligent, tenacious, brave and very, very funny. If there were sides to be picked, you'd want her on yours, even though she'd take the mickey out of you, mercilessly, from dawn `til dusk. What a gal!


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