Book Review: The Liar of Red Valley by Walter Goodwater

Do not trust the Liar.

Do not go in the River.

Do not cross the King.

If you live in Red Valley, California these are the rules you grow up knowing to follow in order to live, to survive. But suddenly for Sadie, these rules are not enough. Her mother passes away unexpectedly. But aside from the shock of losing her mother, she then realises she has inherited her mothers mantle as the Liar of Red Valley. For years the Liar has kept and created the town’s secrets. The only problem is that her mother never trained her to take over, so Sadie needs to learn on the job, and fast. Because things are happening in Red Valley, that even for their town, are weird. Wrong. Even more dangerous than usual. The monsters are getting more brazen. The King of Red Valley is losing his grip. If Sadie can’t figure out how to fix all of this, then more than just a few people will die – the entire town will be lost.

This book gripped me from the very beginning. A fantastic mix of horror, fantasy and thriller, all combining to make something special. Magic, creatures, horrors of the night. They all feature, and more. It was creepy, it was emotional, it had you vested in the town’s survival, in Sadie, and other pertinent supporting roles from the beginning.  The book is fast paced, you really feel like you are running to keep up with Sadies desperate struggle for survival for not only herself, but also for all she cares about.

There was a brilliant mix of characters, some fantastic plot twists, and some very relevant and current themes explored, in a very clever way. I won’t spoil them here, but I will say – read this book. I would love to see it turned into a series. Could we see more from the Liar? And from Red Valley? I devoured this book, much like I imagine The King would devour an enemy!

*I received this book from NetGalley for review but all opinions are my own.

Book Review: Reprieve by James Han Mattson

An escape room game with a safe word. Full contact. You can be attacked but not attack back. If you can hold your nerve and complete all six rooms you win a cash prize. But how big a cash prize does it have to be to endure the horrors, suffer the mental trauma, and become dehumanised in the process? 

This book had me hooked from the start. It opens with themes of loss, confused sexuality, coming of age angst, race struggles, compounded by leaving the only home behind that you have even known to move across the country. Then as if that is not enough, add in manipulation, social engineering, deceit, obsession, and at least one twisted mind into the mix. 

The characters were beautifully created, with just the right amount of backstory given to each, so that when the story crests towards its ending you feel you really know them. You have learned their strengths, their weaknesses, how they have broken. The pace of this story, jumping back and forth on the timelines, the flashes to the horror of the escape room, all culminate into a horrifyingly gripping read. Not for everyone, but it will leave you contemplating life that bit more, and perhaps wondering, just how much would it take for you to end up like one of the contestants in Cell Six!

*I received this book from NetGalley for review but all opinions are my own.

Book Review: The King Of Nightmare by A.Rogers

The King of Nightmare by [A. Rogers]

When Jason gets robbed of his last few scraps of food, little does he know that such a simple, almost mundane act, will spin him into a new life, a new family, and something so much stranger than he could have ever imagined. Ending up in Taylor Point House alongside a group of people who appear so at odds to one another, Jason seems to fit right in. The occupants of the house are an odd bunch. The story skillfully entwines their journeys together, while simultaneously weaving the readers on a journey through another world. As the crack between the two words grows larger, we start to see more and more of the other world, of the Gods fighting to save it, of the Horrors trying to destroy all. This book was a page turner. I found myself reading faster and faster, caught up in both storylines, waiting to see when they would overlap, teased by the potential merging, taunted by the almost, not quite there, and willing our Taylor Point crew to start to see through the cracks. I was engrossed, horrified, sad, happy, fearful. I didn’t know if The King of Nightmare was on our side or not. Ultimately I could not put this book down, and loved every moment of the journey it took me on.

*I received this book from NetGalley for review but all opinions are my own.

Book Review – Hyde by Craig Russell

Book: Hyde (Available on Amazon*)

Author: Craig Russell

Brooding, dark, full of twists, and multiple clever references to historical and fictional characters. A well written, gripping read, that starts out a little slow, but once it has you hooked, really brings you along for the ride.

Set in the atmospheric 19th Century Edinburgh, the book opens with Captain Edward Hyde, Superintendent in Edinburgh City Police, speaking with his friend, Robert L. Stevenson. He tells him of a tale that, he says, Stevenson won’t believe. At first I thought this was going to be a mundane retelling of the Jekyll and Hyde story. But Hyde is full of excellent characters, plot twists, a mounting gruesome body count, occult happenings, and Celtic folklore. Pulling all of this together seamlessly to bring you along on a terrifying race through the city to try save lives before it is too late, to battle the monster – but who is the real monster? Hyde must save the girl, and keep his mind in the process, but has he already lost it?

This book is a disturbing read, scary, unsettling, full of terror, darkness and drama. A diabolical jaunt through Edinburgh, through the human mind, and to the darkness of the human soul. Kudos to Craig Russell for an ability to blend so much into a book, history, the references to historic characters, a weaving storyline. One to read on a dark evening by candlelight! 

*I received this book from NetGalley for review but all opinions are my own.

This review is also listed on Amazon.co.uk and Goodreads & NetGalley.

*No affiliate links, I am just linking to make your life easier!

Book Review – Darke Awakening

Book: Darke Awakening: Embrace The True Darkness (Available on Amazon)*

Author: Lee Hall

Darke Blood is back and throws in your face all manner of things that go bump in the night.

When I was last immersed in the world of Dark Heath, the vampiric threat had been mostly eliminated, Blake Malone had gotten the girl (or had the girl gotten him?) and things seemed to be coming to, dare one say it, a happy ending? But there was a hint of more to come. A town called Dark Heath can never be happy for long – can it? Darke Blood is back and throws in your face all manner of things that go bump in the night. That scream. That rip you to pieces. They don’t leave you with nightmares, they just leave you dead.

This time the danger is worse than anything faced before. Just when our band of misfit heroes think they have confronted the worst of it, another horror surges up and pulls the world out from under them. Dramatic much? Try reading the book! Blake, Caitlyn, and her sister are up for the challenge along with some mysterious help from the forest. There is also a familiar face that arrives in a yellow taxi….

If you read Darke Blood, you need to read this follow up. If you have not read Darke Blood yet, well, as I write this there is a global pandemic. No better time to expand your horizons, and start reading a series that will engage you, chill you, terrify you and yet make you laugh and smile at the same time. My only question is, when is the next book?

This review is also listed on Amazon.co.uk and Goodreads.

*No affiliate links, I am just linking to make your life easier!