Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Last Call

In the space of a single day, twenty-year-old Trish West purchases her first car, gets accepted into veterinary college, and finds her rockstar father, Jim Gamble, a man who vanished into the streets before she was born and now clings to life in a Toronto intensive care unit.

Eager to establish a relationship with Mr. Gamble, Trish heads out from her Northern Ontario home that very day to stand at his bedside. But along the way, she crosses paths with a man who will upend her life and the lives of everyone she cares about.

Meet Bobcat, a savage serial killer christened The Dentist by the press, a deranged trophy hunter who sees Trish as the ultimate prize.

Last Call is a story of lost innocence, sociopathic obsession, and moral redemption that is certain to haunt you long after you’ve read the last page.

There is nothing further that I need to say as the last paragraph of the above synopsis is the perfect review in and of itself. Here it is again:

"Last Call is a story of lost innocence, sociopathic obsession, and moral redemption that is certain to haunt you long after you’ve read the last page."

Just be aware that Last Call is a dark novel that pulls no punches.

4/5 Skulls

Monday, June 24, 2019


First, let me start by saying that I am a big fan of Dan Simmons (so much so that I have a tattoo of the original cover of 'Carrion Comfort'). With that said, somehow I totally missed the release of this novel, back in the summer of 2011. Thankfully, I came across it during a local Library Book Sale. . .

If I were to make a list of my "Top Ten Favorite Books of All Time", Flashback would definitely be on it! (Yes, I like this one even more than Carrion Comfort.) I was immediately sucked into the story; not only completely absorbed by the characters, but also by the atmosphere of the futuristic America that Simmons has created. I tore through this book! Every aspect of this novel is spectacular, and the near heart-dropping ending. . . Wow! If you have read it, then you know what I am talking about. If you have not read it, head to your local bookstore or download it to whichever device you prefer, but make this one your next read!

Here is the synopsis:

A provocative dystopian thriller set in a future that seems scarily possible, FLASHBACK proves why Dan Simmons is one of our most exciting and versatile writers. 

The United States is near total collapse. But 87% of the population doesn't care: they're addicted to flashback, a drug that allows its users to re-experience the best moments of their lives. After ex-detective Nick Bottom's wife died in a car accident, he went under the flash to be with her; he's lost his job, his teenage son, and his livelihood as a result.

Nick may be a lost soul but he's still a good cop, so he is hired to investigate the murder of a top governmental advisor's son. This flashback-addict becomes the one man who may be able to change the course of an entire nation turning away from the future to live in the past.

5/5 Skulls

Friday, June 14, 2019

The Black Echo

Michael Connelly is an author whose name I was familiar with but had never read, until now.

While at a local Library Book Sale, I was loading up on Nelson DeMille books when a stranger approached me and asked if I had ever read Michael Connelly. I will tell you the same thing that he told me. "If you enjoy DeMille, you will enjoy Connelly."

Was he correct in his assumption?

Absolutely! I loved this book. It is a fantastic mystery/thriller, and I will definitely be reading the others in the [Harry Bosch] series.

Thank you, kind stranger!

5/5 Skulls

Here is the book's synopsis:

For maverick LAPD homicide detective Harry Bosch, the body in the drainpipe at Mulholland Dam is more than another anonymous statistic. This one is personal . . . because the murdered man was a fellow Vietnam "tunnel rat" who had fought side by side with him in a hellish underground war. Now Bosch is about to relive the horror of Nam. From a dangerous maze of blind alleys to a daring criminal heist beneath the city, his survival instincts will once again be tested to their limit. Pitted against enemies inside his own department and forced to make the agonizing choice between justice and vengeance, Bosch goes on the hunt for a killer whose true face will shock him.

Friday, May 31, 2019

The Pandora Room

If you enjoyed Christopher Golden's Ararat then you should enjoy this one as well. While not a direct sequel (you need not have read Ararat) it does include two of the characters.

Here is the book's synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling and Bram Stoker Award-winning author comes the sensational new novel that turns ancient lore into a modern-day horror.

In one variation on the myth of Pandora’s Box, there were two jars, one for Pandora and one for her sister. One contained blessings of the gods, the other all the world’s curses…

Archaeologist Sophie Durand has spent her life studying ancient mythology and languages. Years of work have led her to the greatest discovery of her career, a subterranean city deep in the heart of Northern Iraq. When Sophie’s team uncovers a secret chamber whose walls are covered in cuneiform, along with a warning from Alexander the Great, history and mythology begin to merge. The writings confirm the Pandora tale of two jars, but the chamber guards only one. It’s a find that could make history, or start a war.

Weird-science expert Ben Walker is called in as the mystery grows ugly. Those who believe the myth want to know which jar was found, the one containing blessings or the one full of curses. Governments rush to lay claim, but jihadi forces aren’t waiting for the dust to settle. Whatever the jars contain, they want it, no matter the cost. For Sophie, Walker, and the others, the Pandora Room may soon become their tomb.

In a novel that breathes new life into the supernatural thriller, Christopher Golden's pulse-pounding tale is not to be missed.

3/5 Skulls

Monday, May 13, 2019

Rough Trade

Rough Trade is the sequel to one of my favorite books that I read last year - The Hard Bounce.

The below synopsis will tell you all that you need to know. I will just say that Rough Trade is already a contender for my favorite book of the year. I enjoyed it even more than The Hard Bounce, which is saying something! This one takes the craziness of Boo & Junior to a whole new level as things continually go from bad to worse! A must read.

Here is the book's synopsis:

When a waitress at The Cellar asks Boo and Junior to scare her roommate Dana’s harassing ex-boyfriend, Byron, Boo’s white knight impulses kick in and they perform the job with gusto, leaving Byron bloodied but very much alive. So when Byron is found dead, they’re shocked. They’re even more shocked when they learn that nothing is what they originally thought, and they’re being held accountable in the man's death. 

With Junior called in for questioning, Boo is determined to clear their names by finding Byron’s true killer. It’s a quest in which Boo will have to face down crooked cops, crazed guard dogs, a rival security crew, the Irish mob and—worst of all—his own ingrained prejudices. 

Action-packed, outrageously funny, and brutally honest, Rough Trade brings back crime fiction’s favorite bouncers and takes them well out of their comfort zone in a novel that’s whip-smart, hilarious, gritty and above all human, proving that Todd Robinson is one of the most important voices in crime fiction.

5/5 Skulls

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Semper Mars [Book One of The Heritage Trilogy]

It's been a while since I've read a really good Sci-Fi novel, so when I saw this one sitting in the "Free Bin" at my local used bookstore, I decided to give it a shot, and I was not disappointed.

If you enjoy military sci-fi, then give this one a go. It has a good story, solid characters, and I will definitely be reading the other books in the trilogy.

3/5 Skulls
(The book started a little slow, for me, but I fully expect the other books to earn a higher rating, now that the foundation has been established.)

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The Scribbly Man [Children of D'Hara - Novella #1]

A new Richard & Kahlan story.

For those of you who were sad when Goodkind's Sword of Truth saga ended with Warheart, I have good news! The story of Richard and Kahlan continues, albeit in Novella form.

The Scribbly Man is part one of a new trilogy(?) of novellas. I say trilogy, because Novella #2 Hateful Things (8/08) and Novella #3 Wasteland (11/14) are already available for pre-order. I am not sure why Goodkind is going the novella route, but I am not complaining! Also, I just have to say that Head of Zeus Publishing has done an exceptional job with the format of this book!

Being that the story clocks in at only 149 pages, I do not want to give anything away. Just know that when Richard caused the Star Shift in the last book, he inadvertantly opened a way to travel between worlds. . . and this isn't a good thing!

Here is the synopsis:

From the internationally bestselling author of the Sword of Truth series comes a new Richard and Kahlan novella. 

"They are the monsters under the bed when you are little, the shape just caught out of the corner of your eye when you thought you were alone, the shadow of something in a dark corner that surprises you and then isn't there. They stop you dead with a knot of unexpected terror in the pit of your stomach. We have all seen fleeting glimpses of them. Never long enough to see them as I saw them, but it was them. I recognized it the instant I saw it. We've all seen flashes of them, the dark shadow just out of sight. They could briefly terrify us before but never hurt us because they came from so far distant. They were never able to fully materialize in our world so we saw only transient glimpses of them, the shape of them if the light was just right, if the shadows were deep enough . . . if you were afraid enough. I think that the star shift has brought us closer to their realm so that they now have the power to step into our world and hurt us." —Kahlan Amnell

5/5 Skulls