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5.0 out of 5 stars Bound to make you shiver..., 29 Sept. 2015
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This review is from: Snowblind (Kindle Edition)
This was my first Michael McBride and I have to say that it was an excellent short read, great atmosphere and fantastic pacing. The story starts in the present where we are left with a cliffhanger at the end of the first chapter which isn't resolved until the last chapter of the book. The rest of the story is the build-up to those events.

The events largely take place in one setting which Mr McBride uses extremely well, producing plenty of atmosphere as well as an air of mystery about the cabin and the people who have previously sheltered there. I also have to applaud the work put into describing the injuries which are both original and convincing.

Thoroughly recommended.


5.0 out of 5 stars Desert Horror, 29 Sept. 2015
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This review is from: Sunblind (Kindle Edition)
This is a rollicking read in the tradition of Stephen King, Michael Crichton or Lincoln/Child (well the non-Pendergast ones at least) and I do not hesitate to recommend it to fans of those authors.

Sunblind is similar in both story and construction to the same author's excellent Snowblind. Like Snowblind the narrative switches between timelines but this time it is told from two viewpoints - Marya, a Mexican crossing the Sonora desert on the Mexico/Arizona border and Rivera, a Border patrol agent who finds Marya and then backtracks her journey. To delve anymore into the plot would probably be a spoiler and other reviewer's have already adequately summarised it.

Also, similar to Snowblind is the use of one location to set the majority of the story - in this case it the vast sprawling expanse of the desert, and Mr McBride does an exemplary job in describing it. You'll picture the palo verde, the cactii and prickley pears and the miles of dust, rock and dry creek beds that Marya and her fellow travellers have to endure. The authors descriptions of dehydration and the physical discomfiture are also first rate. In fact, on the basis of the descriptions in this novel and the Snowblind novella, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Mr McBride either has some sort of medical background or first hand knowledge of the symptoms. Either that or a lot of research. You will want to read this story with a glass of water at your side!

Despite the similarities with Snowblind, I still loved this book - it's an excellent read, compellingly written that will keep you turning the page.

The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine
The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine

5.0 out of 5 stars Tasked with investigating the crime are Detectives Longdon and Newham who make a fine double act (although I was disappointed th, 31 Aug. 2015
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I recently had the pleasure of reading The Nine Deaths of Dr Valentine whilst on holiday and I'm sure I was getting some strange looks from other people by the pool when I was chuckling out loud. Certainly, I got nudged by the wife and told to be quiet!

If you are of the generation that used to watch the horror double bill on BBC2 on Saturday nights or if you used to read the Pan Horror Anthologies then this short novella will take you down memory lane to that golden age of British Horror.

The titular Dr Valentine is bumping off former colleagues, taking the films of Vincent Price as his inspiration. Tasked with investigating the crime are Detectives Longdon and Newham who make a fine double act (although I was disappointed that Jenny Newham doesn't appear in the sequel, The Hammer of Dr Valentine). The novella switches between the sections describing how the victims meet their demise and the sections which are told from the standpoint of DCI Longdon. The story is told with gusto and humour whilst still reflecting a deep love for the films that provide the inspiration. I could well imagine The League of Gentleman giving the Dr Valentine story the televisual treatment.

Full marks to JLP and now I must really get around to reading his short story collections!

Emaculum (The Scourge series Book 3)
Emaculum (The Scourge series Book 3)
Price: £3.56

5.0 out of 5 stars You have produced three excellent, entertaining and memorable books, 31 Aug. 2015
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Mr Calas I doff my hat to you, Sir. You have produced three excellent, entertaining and memorable books.

The Scourge Trilogy do their best to marry historical fact with a horrific re-imagining of the Black Death - this time as a zombie plague. The only two books which are similar in theme are Paul Finch's excellent Stronghold and Toby Venables' Viking Dead (both published by Abaddon).

Mr Calas has tried to make the stories as historically accuate as possible packing in castle plans, maps and lots of historical detail. If you read the Trilogy you will almost certainly learn something new. The historical detail never detracts from the storytelling and adventures which often happens in historical novels.

Zombie novels usually follow two possible story arcs - the location under siege or on the road, travelling from location to location. The Scourge follows the latter path, with the three central characters on a quest. The lead is Edward (whose honour often gets him into trouble), and he is ably supported by Tristan (the sarcastic, irreverent one) and Morgan (the pious). Of course their quest leads them into many perilous situations as they travel across the plague-ridden countryside and the knights code of chivalry usually leads them to interfere and cause further problems for themselves. The three make for great travelling companions especially as the books progress and we learn their characters. The rapport between them develops as the books progress and they almost become a comedy act - so well delivered is the dialogue that there were a number of occasions when I laughed out loud.

I would thoroughly recommend this series, especially if you are looking for a different sort of zombie apocalypse.

Kzine Issue 10
Kzine Issue 10
Price: £1.99

3.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoy most of Paul's writing and his tale of a ..., 31 Aug. 2015
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This review is from: Kzine Issue 10 (Kindle Edition)
This will be a quick review - I got Kzine 10 primarily for Paul Finch's story, Krampus. I really enjoy most of Paul's writing and his tale of a German refugee family's post-war Christmas was an atmospheric and suitably creepy short tale. 5/5

However, the stand-out story in this collection was Bad Habits by Colin Heintze. This is high praise as its subject matter/genre is something that I wouldn't normally touch. I was drawn into this this story right from the start - it is clever, well-written and dosn't disappoint with its ending. I was so impressed with this story I passed the Kindle to my wife and she also read and thoroughly enjoyed this story. 5/5

I was a little disappointed with the other stories, they are all well-written but didn't really interest me as much.

47 Ronin [Blu-ray] [2014]
47 Ronin [Blu-ray] [2014]
Dvd ~ Keanu Reeves
Price: £3.12

21 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Foregt the reviews - this is a great movie, 27 Jan. 2014
First of all I thought this film was rather unfairly treated by reviewers at the time of its release. I went to the cinema to see it and loved it, so much so that I have pre-ordered the Blu-ray.

The story of the 47 Ronin is well-known in Japanese culture and has been performed in kabuki theatre for centuries. This re-imagining plays with the story somewhat, introducing the character of Kai (Reeves) and quest elements whilst following the outline of the original plot. Visually, the film is stunning and the special effects are exceptional (given the Director comes from a SFX background this shouldn't be surprising).

As others have said, this is sort of a Japanese-inspired version of Lord of the Rings complete with witches, quests and dragons and if you like fantasy-based films then 47 Ronin should appeal to you as well.
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