Monthly Archives: November 2017

The Feathers

The Feathers (origional)

By rcheydn



There is a serial killer in London who leaves mutilated bodies around the city. Woman are disappearing and being cut up. Detective Inspector David Maguire and his partner are on the trail but so is a pesky reporter. Plus, the local politicians are up in arms about the continuing body count.

Ooh, a grisly serial killer story. I thought premise was fine. There are problems but the actual story, per se isn’t too bad.


Zachary Tighe: 30, reporter, former cop

David Maguire: Detective Inspector

Martin Walden: Maguire’s partner

Joan Maguire: Martin’s wife, attorney, has 4 sisters

There are other characters and, for the most part, everybody is okay. You learn a lot about Tighe and there’s some fascination between him and Joan. The bad guy is different and I wish I knew more about him. Not much background information on him and that’s unfortunate considering there’s a ton of other info about other things, which I’ll address later.


The only problem I had here was that the victims didn’t sound like victims. Too reasonable sounding and talky. “Oh my goodness, what’s that? A straight razor? Are you going to shave me?” Okay, that’s paraphrasing a bit on the actual words but would a kidnap victim wonder if she’s going to be shaved?


Profanity. Tighe’s chapters are 1st person POV. The rest are from Maguire or the killer or the victims’ POV.

So, here are my problems. I mentioned not knowing much about the killer. I didn’t completely understand the ritual he has with a bunch of feathers he keeps around the house. I just didn’t comprehend their significance and no real explanation was given. I was hoping for something at the end.

This was a problem because the author spent a LOT of time building up scenes with a LOT of background information on London areas and laws and myriad other stuff. I don’t mind a bit of background, but get on with it. There was a lot of buildup at the beginning before a significant point was made. All this intro stuff made it difficult for me to get into the story. And, the info dump took me out of the story when the good action parts came up.

I think Maguire’s words were incorrect. The reporter wrote up something Maguire didn’t like and thought that Tighe had ‘broken the case wide open’. He was upset because he thought Tighe had ruined the chances of catching the bad guy. However, the normal use of that phrase, ‘break the case wide open’ usually means the vital clue has been found.

Anyway, a pretty decent story otherwise. Take a chance but be aware of some of the obstacles.

My Rank:

Green Belt



Bleeding Cross


By Aaron Dawbot



Some evil things are happening to the residents of an elderly care facility. Heinous murders that leave mutilated corpses. Thomas Arsen and his team of demon hunters are on the scene. Can they stop the evil from spreading?

Okay, this is another one where the blurb was better than what it portended. This story and book has a plethora of problems and some I don’t think I can adequately explain, but I’ll try.


Thomas Arsen: demon hunter, apparently immortal (he’s been around for a few hundred years), sister dead, black hair, green eyes.

Lonnie Blake: oily hair, tall, mustache and the start of a beard, demon hunter

Fitz: black, hazel eyes, short hair, teenager, demon hunter

Okay. There are some other characters in this book, but scant details about everyone. I know that Thomas has scars.

There’s no history of these characters. Who/what is Thomas? How did he get those scars? How is it that he’s lived for hundreds of years? Where did he come from? How did he, Lonnie and Fitz get together? Thomas and Lonnie tend to argue a lot about the past, but nothing is explained. Apparently, Thomas’ sister was horribly killed but nothing is explained.

Fitz’s nickname is Baby Shark which isn’t explained and doesn’t seem to work for me.

There was a new character brought in at the end who made no sense because she wasn’t mentioned before, but Thomas knows her and then she’s gone.

Too many unanswered questions about these people.


The demon hunters try to joke around while fighting the baddies but it doesn’t work. Capitals for the shouting instead of italics. A lot of tag lines that aren’t real tag lines. Lonnie may have had his own voice, I suppose.


Very weak writing throughout.

Loads of tense problems. Present and past tense thrown in willy-nilly. Punctuation problems.

More unanswered questions:

– We meet Thomas at the very beginning in a scene that started out pretty scary but ended in a strange almost ludicrous manner. We don’t know it’s Thomas until a couple chapters later when he is running around on fire and Lonnie and Fitz save him. They save him by dunking him in ice water. How he is magically saved isn’t explained. How he came to be on fire isn’t explained other than a story of his going to hell but that leaves more unanswered questions. Why did he go there? What did he or didn’t he accomplish?

Continuity problems:

– Fitz and Lonnie fight this demon possessed dead woman. They lay her out in the back of their van, then a couple paragraphs later, they lay her out on the ground. Then she’s back in the van (or was still there, I don’t know). Then she’s out outside on the ground attacking, but there isn’t any showing of how or when she left the van.

– Thomas’ sister’s ghost visits him (but it’s not really her) and we see her intro as she places a hand on his shoulder while he’s seated. Then, a few paragraphs later, the ghost shuffles toward him from a distance across the room. How did she get over there?

Problem: in a scene where Thomas is speaking with a nun, we discover later that he has put a some salt and iron filings around his chair. How did the nun not see him doing this? She’s surprised later by it.

A lot of ‘was’ followed by ‘ing’ words. Was shouting. Was walking. Was beginning to [do something]. This took me right out of the story.

The above is only the beginning of the hard to explain weak writing. Part of it was over writing and part was underwriting. Underwriting in the form of vagueness. “Ancient words” “Magical symbols” “Mysterious heat”. These don’t relay any details and the author skimmed right over them. Underwriting in the form of nonsensical sentences.


– run-on sentences, some with to many ‘ing’ words where it would by physically impossible to to do all those actions at the same time.

Weak writing:

– The man from under the shallow depths of stirring murky water found his very last ounce of strength and managed to lift his boiled body out of the murky water.

– One of the caretakers checked on the fainted girl, only to be struck into immobilizing fear as his whole body was compromised with immeasurable terror.

– He found himself looking down a flight of stairs, a faint rancid smell came crawling up into his nostrils. He knew that it came from the basement down below.

– …a hint of subtle irritation.

This entire book is filled with these types of sentences.

Some of the descriptions were over-the-top, overwritten.

This was a short book (74 pages in my epub format), but very exasperating to read. Too many unanswered questions, the action was too complicated and much of didn’t make sense. The characters did strange things that weren’t explained or completed something without enough quality detail that I could understand.

Before I had completed the first chapter, I knew this book was going to receive a:

White Belt


When Hope Calls

final cover

By David Lui


Morris works a humanitarian hotline in Asia. One day he receives a call from young girl who pleads for rescue from her kidnappers. Thus begins two of the worst days for Morris and a team of assistants doing what they can to keep the girl from a nightmare.

This is a short book, only about 44 pages in my epub format. This deals with the heinous crime of human trafficking. I think, for the most part, the plot is good with a couple minor issues.


Morris: humanitarian hotline attendant, short black hair

Jeremy Moore: hotline supervisor

Margaret Hall: hotline coordinator, 5’6”

Aat: mid 20s

Chariya: 30’s, tall, slim

For the most part, the characters are good. I don’t know about the kidnap victim and maybe this belongs in the dialogue category, but some of her dialogue didn’t sound like a kidnap victim. There were times she talked too much without the scared voice. I understand at times, Morris was trying to draw her out and try to get her mind off of her situation, but there were sentences that didn’t fit.


For the most part, again, the conversations were fine. Some of the voices were okay.


The story is presented with time headers.

This is a short book as mentioned. Now, let me say up front that I am commenting only on the writing part, the story itself as it was presented. This is in no way a commentary on the human trafficking crime. So, let me get that part out of the way first, then I’ll deal with the story presented here.

Actually, the author makes his own commentary and I wholeheartedly agree with it. This is an awful crime and it’s been around since people decided that other people were commodities. It’s a crime that is beyond heinous and anything anyone can do in any little way to minimize the number of victims is good. Although this book takes place in an Asian country, this crime is worldwide including America, including Iowa where I live. It was mentioned that this story was based on an actual event and the ending is not pretty.

Okay, ‘nuff said about the crime itself, let me get back to the story.

With this being a short book I wanted more ‘stuff’ in the story. I understand the circumstances of the people involved with trying to rescue the girl, but most of this was waiting around in an office hoping for the next call from the girl. There wasn’t any action with the police or other people out on the streets looking for the girl. I realize, too, that the clues to her whereabouts came in bits and pieces and it was difficult for anybody to act, but the author’s job is to keep the reader moving through the story and not have the reader waiting for yet another phone call.

The other issue I had was I wanted more action, more ‘we almost had her’ moments, but a good portion of the book is Margaret upset at herself and wondering if she’s good enough to do her job. A little bit is fine, but this kind of thing ran for many more pages than I thought necessary. It’s a short story so things have to keep moving and when time is taken to self analyze it takes the reader away from the intensity of the story.

Otherwise, I thought it was a good read and I hated the ending. Before you start claiming unfair, let me mention that the author hated the ending, too, and he hopes any reader hates the ending as well. Again, this was based on a true event and the ending to that situation was awful, too.

My Rank:

Green Belt


Lying In Vengeance


By Gary Corbin

Gary Corbin 4010 low-res web RGB


Peter Robinson has a problem. Well, several problems. He’s found a new girlfriend, Christine, a woman who was on a jury with him. The trial was held for a guy accused of murder. One of the problems for Peter is that he knew the man was innocent…because he himself was the murderer. Unfortunately, Christine has discovered this fact, also. And she wants Peter to continue his killing ways by taking care of an abusive ex boyfriend. Another problem for Peter is the guy who was accused (and was found innocent) has shown up at Peter’s place of employment…wanting a job.

This is a complex little tale that becomes more complex with just about every chapter. There are some twists and not everyone is who he or she claims to be. A good little tale with some interesting intrigue.


Peter Robinson: 33, divorced, works at a lumber & building supply company, has siblings, drives a silver Ford Ranger

Christine Nielson: drives a Miata

Frankie Kowalczyk: ex employee of the lumber company

Kyle: has a brother, blond, brown eyes

Some good characters. No real description of Christine and it’s never revealed how she pays the bills or from where she gets her money. I kind of liked her because I thought she was an innocent woman in distress. But she’s more, so much more.


Good voices. Conversation stay on track. Nothing over the top.


Titled parts.

Not much wrong with this book. Little action that isn’t very tense and each ends pretty quickly. This is more psychological than shoot ‘em/blow ‘em up stuff. It moves pretty quickly. I did enjoy the twists. The ending left me hanging but not necessarily in a bad way. Some good character development.

As for rank although I did enjoy it, it didn’t excite me as much as some others. But don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad book. I think I found one or two misspelled words but otherwise punctuation/grammar was good. So, if you want a decent, well presented mystery, this is a good read.

My Rank:

Green Belt