Category Archives: 4 Star Books

A Review of Golden Son by Pierce Brown

Golden Son

Book II of the Red Rising Trilogy
by Pierce Brown

Red Rising was one of my favorite books from 2014. I loved the premise and the characters. Too bad I read it last January and not last week; because when I started reading Golden Son, I was lost. The story just starts right from the end of book 1, without any review or little memory prompts that many authors give at the beginning of the second book in a trilogy. He doesn’t help you out, so the best thing to do would be to reread Red Rising before you start reading Golden Son. I wish I had. And obviously, it goes without saying that you can’t just start reading the trilogy in the middle with Golden Son.

A lot goes on in this middle book of the trilogy, but like most middle books, the main purpose is to get you from book 1 to book 3. There is a lot of action, many people die, ships are destroyed, and battles won and lost. There are unexpected plot twists, and some new ideas come to light. At the end of Golden Boy it feels like everything may fall to pieces, so the next book will have to have a lot in it to bring us back up. Next January I will have to read all three books , one after another.

I really like this series. Mr Brown brings this story from the foreseeable future to life. This isn’t a story of battling aliens for the future of earth, it’s a story of the struggle of man to break free of the bonds put on him by other men. The Golds and Reds are humans, along with the Pinks and Blues and Grays and all the other genetically modified humans in the story. The Golds are on the top of the heap, but can they remain there once the other colors awaken? We have to wait for book 3 to find out.

I give Golden Son 4 Stars out of 5 and a Big Thumbs Up! If I had just finished reading Red Rising, it may have gotten 4 1/2 or even 5 Stars, who knows.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

Golden Son 2With shades of The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, and Game of Thrones, debut author Pierce Brown’s genre-defying epic Red Rising hit the ground running and wasted no time becoming a sensation. Golden Son continues the stunning saga of Darrow, a rebel forged by tragedy, battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom.

As a Red, Darrow grew up working the mines deep beneath the surface of Mars, enduring backbreaking labor while dreaming of the better future he was building for his descendants. But the Society he faithfully served was built on lies. Darrow’s kind have been betrayed and denied by their elitist masters, the Golds—and their only path to liberation is revolution. And so Darrow sacrifices himself in the name of the greater good for which Eo, his true love and inspiration, laid down her own life. He becomes a Gold, infiltrating their privileged realm so that he can destroy it from within.

A lamb among wolves in a cruel world, Darrow finds friendship, respect, and even love—but also the wrath of powerful rivals. To wage and win the war that will change humankind’s destiny, Darrow must confront the treachery arrayed against him, overcome his all-too-human desire for retribution—and strive not for violent revolt but a hopeful rebirth. Though the road ahead is fraught with danger and deceit, Darrow must choose to follow Eo’s principles of love and justice to free his people.

He must live for more.

Book Details

Series: The Red Rising Trilogy
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Del Rey (January 6, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345539818
ISBN-13: 978-0345539816
Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.6 x 9.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds

About The Author

Pierce BrownPierce Brown spent his childhood building forts and setting traps for his cousins in the woods of six states and the deserts of two. Graduating college in 2010, he fancied the idea of continuing his studies at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a magical bone in his body. So while trying to make it as a writer, he worked as a manager of social media at a startup tech company, toiled as a peon on the Disney lot at ABC Studios, did his time as an NBC page, and gave sleep deprivation a new meaning during his stint as an aide on a U.S. Senate Campaign.

Now he lives in Los Angeles, where he scribbles tales of spaceships, wizards, ghouls, and most things old or bizarre.

http://www.redrisingbook.com
http://www.pierce-brown.com

The Book Description and Details are from Amazon. Golden Son

A Review of From a Killer’s Mind by Jason Helford

From a Killer’s Mind

by Jason Helford

From a Killer’s Mind was a very hard book for me to read. It was just too intense! I don’t really want to spend time inside a sadistic serial killer’s mind. Mr. Helford puts you right there, with all the horrific, and terrible thoughts and desires that are living inside of John’s sick, twisted mind. You relive his childhood abuse, and every page brings some new horror. There just is no relief.

If you can take such a vividly lifelike horror story and not have nightmares, and you want to feel the insanity of a totally crazed killer, then this is the book for you. Mr. Helford will grab your mind and twist it, pushing it to new depths of depravity and ugliness. He won’t let up.

Everything was perfect about this book. The writing was tight and convincing. John was portrayed as a completely horrible person. His life was a nightmare. Way too much of a nightmare for me. I could only read this book by day. So how do I rate this? If this is your kind of book, I bet that you will rate it a 5, but I could barely stand to finish it. So I guess I will compromise and come to a middle ground.

I’m going to rate From a Killer’s Mind 4 Stars out of 5. If this book sound like something you might like, you probably will eat it up.

I received this book from the author.

Book Description

From a Killers Mind - CoverThe prologue is a vignette that brings the reader into the tone and setting of the novel, giving a foreshadowing of the events that will unfold.  It starts with newlyweds on a happy day, looking at a prospective home, but ends in tragedy due to an evil resonance attached to the house.  This leads the reader to the beginning of John’s story.

John has been a successful serial killer for his entire adult life, committed to his craft without detection or disruption.  He’s spent years refining his process and meticulously planning out each kill, honing his abilities to horrible heights.  At the start of the novel, the reader is introduced to John going about the routine of his particular method of selection and abduction.  The plans are well-rehearsed, but his dark life is abruptly disrupted as something even darker wells out from deep within him.  What starts out as one dissociative lapse–a blackout on the road–turns into a series of uncontrollable blackouts, unraveling his carefully wrought control.  John tries to re-center his mind through meditation–a technique he taught himself as a young man, to quiet his chaotic thoughts–but while John is deep within himself, he finds unfamiliar dark voices, voices not his own.  They claw past his defenses and force themselves into John’s reality, manifesting from out of the depths of his subconscious.  John’s scarred psyche had manifested as grotesque physical representations, torturing his fragile mind and bringing his buried past terrors back to life.  Through a series of unbidden flashbacks to the abuses and defining moments of John’s past, and through his interactions with these manifestations representing his weaknesses and fears, the reader glimpses what set him on the path to being such a prolific killer.

The book is written with an emotional honesty that lays bare the killer’s soul for all readers to see, while also delivering a good scare.

Book Details

File Size: 451 KB
Print Length: 242 pages
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B00E8C2EFA
Text-to-Speech: Enabled 
X-Ray: Not Enabled 
Word Wise: Not Enabled
Lending: Enabled

About the Author

Jason Helford is a first time author, having recently published his debut novel, From a Killer’s Mind, in July of 2013.  He’s a devoted husband and father, an avid comic book collector and an enthusiastic craft beer drinker.  Prizing originality and creativity more than anything else, his favorite authors are Hunter S. Thompson, Chuck Palahniuk, Ray Bradbury, Terry Brooks, Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, Robert Asprin and Albert Camus.  Please don’t be offended if you are an author and your name wasn’t mentioned, he probably likes you, too.  He lives in Maryland with his wife, Bella, his daughter, Maddie, and his goofy dog, Sunset.

A Review of The Black Mile by Mark Dawson

The Black Mile (Soho Noir #1)

by Mark Dawson

Mr. Dawson will transport you back to the mean dark streets of London as the Nazi bombers were pounding the East End. He puts you right there, in the thick of the action and tension, the terror of bombs falling while girls are being butchered. He shows you the reality of the slang and prejudices of the city under siege. He demonstrates the brutality of the cops, and the crooks. You wonder if there is a difference. He brings two feuding brothers together, Charlie and Frank Murphy, to butt heads, to grow apart, to fight, but to come back together as honest policemen. You learn about a reporter, Henry Drake, who makes up details of his stories, so that they are more interesting, and will sell more papers. He learns that the real story is more important, but much more dangerous.

The Black Mile is a good mystery thriller. It seems to be an authentic portrayal of London at the beginning of World War II. Mr. Dawson uses a lot of period slang. This adds to the feel of the time. Since I am an American, much of the phraseology is foreign, but after a few chapters, it’s possible to figure out most of what is being said. I would be curious what a resident of the UK would think about the accuracy of the book. Some of the things that happen seem to not fit the time period.

I enjoyed this book, but have some reservations about the historic accuracy. I give it 4 Stars out of 5 and a Thumbs Up. This is not my normal type of book, but I think that I will read more by Mark Dawson in the future. I may try his John Milton series. If you think that you might like a noir novel set in wartime London, give The Black Mile a shot. You probably will like it.

I received a copy of The Black Mile from the author.

Book Description

The Black Mile by Mark Dawson
The Black Mile by Mark Dawson

London, 1940: the Luftwaffe blitzes London every night for fifty-seven nights. Houses, shops and entire streets are wiped from the map. The underworld is in flux: the Italian criminals who dominated the West End have been interned and now their rivals are fighting to replace them. Meanwhile, hidden in the shadows, the Black-Out Ripper sharpens his knife and sets to his grisly work.

Henry Irving is a disgraced reporter on a Fleet Street scandal rag. Genius detective sergeant Charlie Murphy is a fresh face in the Metropolitan police, hunting corrupt colleagues but blinkered by ambition and jealousy. His brother, detective inspector Frank Murphy, searches frantically for his runaway daughter, terrified that she will be the killer’s next victim. As the Ripper stalks the terrified streets, the three men discover that his handiwork is not quite what it seems. Conspirators are afoot, taking advantage of the chaos to settle old scores. The murders invade the lives of the victims and victimizers on both sides of the law, as everyone is sucked deeper and deeper into Soho’s black heart.

Based on a little known true story, The Black Mile is a rollercoaster ride of a novel that was previously the most downloaded novel on the Kindle Store. If you enjoy the thrillers of James Elroy, Peter James and Dennis Lehane, you’ll love THE BLACK MILE.

PRAISE FOR MARK DAWSON ‘A brilliant debut novel from a very promising writer.’ Subject ‘Ultra-addictive, super-stylish – a viciously good novel.’ Toby Litt. ‘A talent to be watched.’ Birmingham Post

PRAISE FOR THE BLACK MILE ‘This is far and above the best small/independently published novel I have ever had the pleasure of reading.’ The Kindle Book Review ‘Dawson has shown himself to be a true master of suspense’. Siobian Minish ‘A first class historical mystery.’ Luke Walker ‘This book is worth it for the arcane London slang alone. Fascinating. If want to get a feel for what it was like during the early part of WWII this will knock you out. If you like character development you’ll love it. If you like peeking in on the lives of people in a long gone world — you really love it.’ David E Johnson

Book Details

Paperback: 422 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (January 25, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1482051346
ISBN-13: 978-1482051346
Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 8 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds

About the Author

Mark Dawson was born in Lowestoft, in the UK. He has worked as a DJ, a door-to-door ice cream seller, factory hand and club promoter. He eventually trained as a lawyer and worked for ten years in the City of London and Soho, firstly pursuing money launderers around the world and then acting for celebrities suing newspapers for libel. He currently works in the London film industry.

He is presently writing two series.

The John Milton books involve a disgruntled British assassin who is trying – without much success – to put his past behind him. In order to atone for the blood on his hands he has decided to help those in need. The first full length novel in the series, The Cleaner, sees Milton struggle to adapt to life amongst the gangs of East London during the riots of the summer of 2012. The Cleaner, and the other books in the series, have all been best-sellers in their categories at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

The Soho Noir books, beginning with The Black Mile and continuing with The Imposter, follow the glitz and glamour of criminal life in London’s West End from the 1940s to the present day. The Imposter picks up the nefarious goings on of the Costello crime family and a protagonist who is rather more than meets the eye. Think of The Sopranos set in Soho and you’ll be on the right track. This series, too, has been downloaded tens of thousands of times.

Mark lives in Wiltshire with his wife and two young children, plus a dog and two cats.

Book Description and Details are from Amazon. The Black Mile

A Review of Helsinki Noir edited by James Thompson

Helsinki Noir

edited by James Thompson

This is a collection of new stories from Finnish writers that take place in and around Helsinki. The stories range from very dark and horrific to brighter and nearly upbeat. Most of them were quite good. Some of the stranger stories are at the beginning of the book, so don’t let that stop you. If you aren’t too sure what is going on, just keep working through it. I think that you will like it.

I enjoyed this collection, but since I haven’t read any of the other books in this series, I can’t tell how well it stacks up with the rest. I used this book to get a small feel for Finnish mystery writers. Most of the stories were originally written in Finnish or Swedish, and the translations are very good. They flow nicely and read naturally. I will be looking to add some of the books from these authors in the future. It was an interesting glimpse into life in Helsinki.

I give Helsinki Noir 4 Stars out of 5, and recommend it to anyone looking to expand their mystery story experience. It would be an eclectic addition to anyone’s library. Use it to expand the group of authors that you read.

I received a Digital Review Copy of this book from edelweiss.com.

Book Description

HelsinkiNoir1-509x800“Readers should be prepared to keep the lights on at night after finishing this unnerving collection.”
Publishers Weekly

Launched with the summer ’04 award-winning best seller Brooklyn Noir, Akashic Books continues its groundbreaking series of original noir anthologies. Each book is comprised of all-new stories, each one set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the city of the book.

Featuring brand-new stories by: Leena Lehtolainen, Johanna Holmström, James Thompson, Antti Tuomainen, Jesse Itkonen, Joe L. Murr, Jukka Petäjä, Tapani Bagge, Pekka Hiltunen, Teemu Käskinen, Tuomas Lius, Riikka Ala-Harja, Karo Hämäläinen, and Jarkko Sipila.

From the introduction by James Thompson:

“Finland, the myths and truths. Internationally, it has a reputation as perhaps the best place in the world to live. A great economy. A low crime rate. Good and nearly cost-free health care. The needy are provided for by the state and live in reasonable comfort. Finns: peaceful and quiet people, living in the perfect example of a social democracy functioning as it should. A tourist, or even a person who has lived here for a length of time, might well view Finland as such. There is some truth to this, but like every country, Finland has many truths…

Finland is, like the theme so often explored in Star Trek, a parallel universe in which, on the surface, all seems normal, but under that shell lie vast differences…As this book demonstrates, Finland is a noir nation [and] this anthology is, I believe, the best representation of Finnish noir ever offered to the international community. Every word rings true. It holds Finland up in a way that not only exposes this wonderful and fascinating country to the world, but acts as a mirror that reflects its people and culture in a way every Finn will recognize, vocalizing those truths that are so seldom spoken here amongst ourselves.”

Book Details

Series: Akashic Noir
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Akashic Books (November 4, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 161775241X
ISBN-13: 978-1617752414
Product Dimensions: 1 x 5 x 7 inches
Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces

About the Editor

JAMES THOMPSON has lived in Finland for over fifteen years and is one of the most popular representatives of Nordic noir, with his work being published in a dozen countries. His novel Snow Angels, the first book in his acclaimed Kari Vaara series, was one of Booklist’s Best Crime Novel Debuts of the Year and was nominated for Edgar, Anthony, and Strand Critics awards. Kirkus selected Lucifer’s Tears, the second book in the series, as one of the best books of 2011. G.P. Putnam’s Sons will release Helsinki Dead, the fifth installment in the series, in 2014. He is a reviewer for the New York Journal of Books and holds a master’s degree from the University of Helsinki. He is the editor of Helsinki Noir.

Jim has suddenly passed away on August 2, 2014.

Book Description and Details are from Amazon. Helsinki Noir