Book Reviews


Book Reviews
By Kelly James

This issue I am reviewing the thriller novel, DISCIPLINE by Paco Ahlgren, paranormal romance, BLOOD ATONEMENT by Sara Saint John, and the horror novel, DARKNESS, TELL US by the legendary Richard Laymon.

If you have a novel you would like me to review, contact me at† I will consider horror, action adventure, fantasy, and books of art.† I do require an actual print issue (no PDF files). †

I hope these reviews help you in choosing a good book!

Author: Paco Ahlgren

Discipline is the kind of book I have a hard time defining. Itís most definitely a thriller, but itís also so much more. Ahlgren combines many elements that, at first, seem utterly impossible to weave together in a novel. Taoism, stockbrokers, the cello, chess, and even quantum physics are among the elements you typically donít find in a thriller. However, the way Ahlgren incorporates each into this delightful story is nothing short of masterful.

Douglas Cole, Disciplineís protagonist, is among the elite when it comes to well developed, breathing characters. Douglas survives a tragic adolescence that includes the death of his entire family. Douglas is left with only his fatherís friend, Jack, to help him through the troubled times.

The Jack Alexander character is both fascinating and mysterious. When he enters the story, the reader is forced to pay extra close attention.

Douglas moves on to college. There, he finds himself emerged in the world of trading futures and drug and alcohol dependency. Hitting rock bottom, Douglas is rescued by Jack re-entering his life. Along with Jack, is the mysterious Jefferson Stone.

The motives of both Jack and Jefferson are mind twisting. They came from the future to teach and prepare Douglas for a future he could never imagine. A future, in which, his every decision is critical to the fate of humanity.

Discipline is the kind of novel that makes you question everything you know about the world. Every aspect of this book is intriguing and suspenseful.

Ahlgren takes such mundane topics as Chess and Stock trading and turns them into a riveting and vital part of one of the most intelligent novels Iíve ever read.

Then I read that Discipline is Ahlgrenís first novel; this is simply amazing.

I highly recommend Discipline to any reader willing to challenge their mind and consider different concepts of reality.

©2007 Greenleaf Book Group Press

* * *

Author: Sara Saint John

BLOOD ATONEMENT is the kind of book, which at first glance, I wouldnít normally read, let alone review. But shortly after I took this position with The World of Myth, Sara contacted me and I agreed to review BLOOD ATONEMENT.

First off, Iíve never read much paranormal romance. It isnít my thing. However, BLOOD ATONEMENT isnít your everyday paranormal romance. Sara Saint Johnís ability to spin a tale is something to behold. Her characters breathe (the most important part to any story, in my opinion, and if Iím reading something with cardboard characters, I rarely finish it). The plot is both intriguing and complex. The characterís motivation kept me interested throughout.

Did I mention Dracula appears as a primary antagonist in BLOOD ATONEMENT? He does, and the way Sara portrays the legendary count is truly invigorating to the tired old vampire lord clichť.

Mathias is king of Hungary. His great mistake is to imprison Vlad Dracula for fifteen years, drawing the wrath and vengeance of the vampire lord. Dracula turns Mathias into a vampire as punishment.

Centuries later, Mathias returns to Hungary and meets Szeretni. Mathias falls for the girl, but so does Dracula who returns to Hungary as well to study the Book of the Dead with Szeretniís father.

Now Mathias must try to prevent his love from becoming Draculaís victim.

I highly recommend BLOOD ATONEMENT to any vampire or romance fan. Sara Saint John is as entertaining a writer as the likes of Anne Rice. Anything she writes, youíll like.

©2006 Samhain Publishing

* * *

Author: Richard Laymon

The late great Richard Laymon never fails to deliver a tale of terror, told only as he could tell it. DARKNESS, TELL US is no exception. The BEAST HOUSE series aside, I think DARKNESS, TELL US is Laymonís best work.

The story begins with six college students celebrating the end of the school year with their favorite teacher. Eventually, one of the students finds Dr. Daltonís Ouija board. Reluctant, but easily persuaded, Dalton allows the kids to use the board.

A spirit named Butler answers their questions and promises them treasure. The spirit validates its claim by showing them the whereabouts of a hundred dollar bill long lost in the couch. The students were hooked after that.

The six students steal the Ouija board and embark on a treasure hunt that leads them to the mountains and something far worse than spirits. Waiting for them in the woods is a psychotic mad man.

Furious that the kids ignored her warnings and stole the Ouija board, Corie Dalton sets out after the students. She has her own complications with the mad man in the mountains.

Laymon leads the reader on a twisted ride of psychotic depravity and supernatural vengeance from beyond the grave. The plot twists and turns at the end are breathtaking.

To quote Stephen Kingóif youíve missed Laymon, youíve missed a treat. I canít think of a better way to sum up this wonderful novel. Richard Laymon is one of horrorís greats. Period.

©2003 Dorchester Publishing

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