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on 31 March 2015
An interesting read and an insight into there possibly being an alternative existence after we take our last living breath. A modern thought provoking thriller.
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VINE VOICEon 5 March 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Mike is a tattoo artist with his own shop, haunted by visions of Sid, his girlfriend, who committed suicide. When he hires Debs to take on the piercing and body modification side of things, he starts to live again. Mike doesn't really question it when he receives a request from a customer to incorporate some of the ashes of his beloved, deceased, son as part of the tattoo of a baseball, but when a serial rapist and murderer takes the niece of a friend, Mike has a decision to make.

"A Good and Useful Hurt" seemed like it could be an interesting story and it was recommended for those who appreciated Stieg Larsson, though, having read it, I am now trying to figure out why.

Aric Davis's style of writing, combined with very short (a few pages) chapters make "A Good and Useful Hurt" quick to read. Some of the descriptive passages left me feeling a bit squeamish; a little less detail would have been fine with me, especially when relating the body modification, and the fate of one of the characters near the end. It's not really an original storyline, but it approaches the hunt for a serial killer in an unusual way, as well as exploring the spiritual aspects of tattooing and body modification, in a manner I've not heard mention of before, making this book a curiosity for that alone.

It cannot say why, but this story just didn't appeal to me, despite the promise of the synopsis and the reviews I had managed to find. I read both positive and negative reviews, but I still felt "A Good and Useful Hurt" would be a good choice; however, I put the book down several times, finding myself unable to care about the resolution of the main plotline, or anything else pertaining to the story. I can't say I was bored, just wholly disinterested at times.

The characterisations are a bit flat at times, though perhaps that was the object: to discern a a distance between the main character and his friends, because Mike seemed such a loner really. Personally, I just couldn't connect with any of the characters in the book.

"A Good and Useful Hurt" is not a bad book, nor is it a great book. Aric Davis adds a nice gimmick to a done-to-death genre, but it wasn't enough to grab, and hold my attention; for that reason, I don't think I would recommend it to others. To be honest, I am not sure to whom "A Good and Useful Hurt" would appeal.
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VINE VOICEon 10 March 2012
I chose this novel as I was very intrigued by the subject matter. Unlike many of the other reviewers, I do have tattoos and have some knowledge of tattoos and piercings but I still found the book unusual, imaginative and I learned a lot!

Mike owns a tattoo shop and after his last relationship ended in tragedy things begin to look up when he falls in love with Deb, a piercer who comes to work in the shop. Running in parallel to this storyline is one about bereaved relatives who come to the shop to have tattoos done with ink incorporating the ashes of their loved ones. These people might not be considered your usual `tattoo types' but their back stories are involving and moving.The third thread involves a serial killer called Phil, who is murdering girls in the area local to the tattoo shop. Without giving too much away, the three threads of the story come together in a highly original way (and this would be best avoided if you are in any way squeamish!)

Towards the end of the novel I was worried about reading it at night in case I had nightmares (I am a bit of a wimp!) but this didn't stop me from wanting to get to the end. This might not be the best writing you'll ever encounter but the plot is really involving and the originality was refreshing.

Highly recommended!
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on 24 February 2012
Tattooing and piercing fascinate me and thus "A Good and Useful Hurt", written by a body piercer, had me hooked from the very first page. Mike, the owner of a Michigan tattoo parlour, is rebuilding his life after the suicide of his girlfriend. His story is interspersed with chapters following his customers (of whom an increasing number want to be tattooed with ink mixed with their loved one's ashes), as well as those from the point of view of a misogynistic serial killer.

To say any more about these seemingly separate strands would spoil the enjoyment of the unfolding plot; even halfway through this novel I had no idea where it was going, but I didn't mind as I was enjoying the company of Mike, his colleagues, and customers so much. This is a book where great warmth sits alongside episodes of horrifically graphic violence. I find that many horror novels are ultimately disappointing, so it was a joy to come across one as satisfying as this.
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on 5 March 2012
Well it was suggested to me in an email so I checked it out and reviews were good so I gave it a try. It is rare that I pay more than £1 for Kindle books (usually only if K edition is cheaper than a paperback!) so it was a bit of a gamble.

I did enjoy it. Read it all in one day - couldn't wait to find out what happened next. Intriguing idea and written in an 'easy to read without reader having to try too hard' style.Wouldn't dream of posting spoilers so you'll just have to check it out for yourself.

However, my abiding thought the day after is that it would probably make a top notch short story but is a bit drawn out for a longer book especially at the end where I felt the pace dropped.

Has been compared to King/Koontz by others.I didn't find it particularly gory or shocking but then I'm a longstanding horror fan and very hard to scare/shock.

CTM
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VINE VOICEon 20 April 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I found this book irritating from the start due to the frequent use of "off of" as in "she jumped off of the wall" I was always taught that this is bad grammar so I'm allergic to it. Younger readers may well not even notice it.

I had almost given up on the book when a spiritual element was introduced which perked up my interest and for the second half of the book I was gripped. The theme is that if the ashes of a dead person are mixed with ink and tattooed into your skin, that person will start appearing to you in your sleep and can give you all sorts of useful advice such as how to catch the sadistic rapist and murderer who was the cause of them being dead in the first place.

Rounded off (of) with a satisfying ending with the criminal getting his just desserts.
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on 21 July 2014
I really didn't know what to expect from this novel, and even half way through I wasn't sure where it would go and how it would end. By three quarters of the way through I prayed, like a lot of the books I've read lately, that the ending wouldn't let me down. I'm happy to say it didn't.

The characters in this book are all likeable and unique and the story itself is so different to anything I've read in the past.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would urge everyone to give it a go, especially at its current bargain price of £1.00. I think I'll need to check out the author's debut novel and I hope if it's anywhere near as good as this, he continue to write :-)
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on 24 February 2012
I would not consider myself as one of Mikes likely customers but the background of a busy-at times struggling-tattoo business is the unusual backdrop to this gripping story.From the opening chapter the characters come alive as real people and this is the hallmark of a very good writer indeed. A blend of Stephen King and Dean Koontz but with its own unique background and characters made this a novel which I could not put down.
Aric Davis proves that the human imagination is boundless. I confess that I initially downloaded the sample of the book with that good old closed mind attitude that if the primary character is tattooed then it will only appeal to the strange people who are into body art.
I now apologise for my prejudices-this great book soon sorted that out!
Get this gripping and unusual story now-and prepare to be thrilled.
Thanks for a truly great tale, I even think that Edgar Allen Poe would recognise a kindred spirit.
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on 26 December 2014
An enthralling read with likable characters if not hugely unique. The plot held surprises, unearthed inner fears and engaged an emotional response in me. Although the writing is imperfect, the brutality, sadness and excitement of this story makes it worth a read. Be prepared, however, for some uncomfortable violence - the blurb doesn't exactly match the reality of the text!
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on 27 March 2014
It looked different, it had some great reviews and I love reading.....should have been worthwhile. I loved the start of the book, the first half really brought the characters to life and there were people you wanted to get to know. Ok so the serial killer character was a bit one dimensional and really not developed and interesting but the all the happenings on a day to day basis in the tattoo shop were wonderful to read about. Then came the big change and the the supernatural happenings and it went from believable to just not my cup of tea, I am genuinely surprised by the number of positive reviews this has.
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