Month: August 2013

Book Review: Lamentation, by Ken Scholes

For the record, I’m a fairly busy guy. So when I tell all of you that I finished Lamentation in three days, it must mean I really liked it. I stayed up for a few extra hours each night until I finished. And then I was happy I bought the next two books in the Psalms of Isaak series the same time I bought Lamentation. I had a hunch this was going to be a good series. Boy am I glad I listen to my gut.

LamentationBut first, a word from the publisher, Tor:

An ancient weapon has completely destroyed the city of Windwir. From many miles away, Rudolfo, Lord of the Nine Forest Houses, sees the horrifying column of smoke rising. He knows that war is coming to the Named Lands.

Nearer to the Devastation, a young apprentice is the only survivor of the city – he sat waiting for his father outside the walls, and was transformed as he watched everyone he knew die in an instant.

Soon all the Kingdoms of the Named Lands will be at each others’ throats, as alliances are challenged and hidden plots are uncovered.

This remarkable first novel from an award-winning short fiction writer will take readers away to a new world – an Earth so far in the distant future that our time is not even a memory; a world where magick is commonplace and great areas of the planet are impassable wastes. But human nature hasn’t changed through the ages: War and faith and love still move princes and nations.

Mr. Scholes debut book is so good I wouldn’t have guessed this was his first. If this was my first book, I would have retired afterward. I don’t see much room for improvement. Seriously, if you like characters who feel like they can leap out of the page, pacing that grabs your eyeballs and compels you to keep reading, and a plot more airtight than a fish’s backside, YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK.

This is the first time in a very long time where I’m going to read the first three books in this series consecutively. I normally like to switch genres between books. Not this time. I HAVE to know what happens next. I’ve found my new drug and it comes in the form of The Psalms of Isaak Series, by Ken Scholes.

Don’t think this is just a Fantasy book either. It has elements of so much more. Do you like Sci/Fi, political intrigue, action, suspense, and/or thrillers? This book has all of that and more. But more importantly, I feel Lamentation transcends genre labeling. To put it plainly, this is simply a fantastic story that any reader can pick up and enjoy. I really can’t recommend it any more than that.

What I liked:

  • The characters. All of the characters have interesting stories to tell and when they come together great things always seem to happen. Great, and fully realized characters made this an easy read for me.
  • The approachable world building. Mr. Scholes world isn’t too expansive making it easy for readers to dive right in and understand every little thing about it. Much of the world building is subtle and we don’t even know we’re being educated. So well done. Really.
  • The intersecting plot lines. This has to be the best example I can think of for intersecting plot lines. Not only that, but the political intrigue is so masterfully done that I was left wondering who was behind the fall of Windweir, even after I was done reading. Leaving readers with healthy questions about plot lines, to me, is the sign of a master storyteller.
  • The pacing. Mr. Scholes hits readers with what I’m calling machine gun pacing–a few pages from each POV character making up his chapters. He does this so well that the story moves along at an easy, albeit fast pace. Again, so well done.
  • The emotional aspect. Ken really tugs at readers’ heart strings with what he does with his characters. When they ache, readers also ache. When they triumph, readers also triumph. When they stumble, readers also stumble. The connection Ken creates between his characters and his readers shines through page after page. I couldn’t get enough.

What I didn’t like:

  • It never truly felt like a world at war. I never got a sense of these characters being in imminent danger as wars broke out. I would have liked a stronger war element, especially having recently read Brian Ruckley’s Godless World Trilogy.

Overview: I’m giving Lamentation, by Ken Scholes, as many stars as I can. Since my scale stops at five stars, I guess that’ll have to do. Honestly, five doesn’t seem like enough. This was the easiest review I’ve ever had. Top notch characters, pacing, and world building make Lamentation one of my new favorite books. I can sit here and rave some more about this book, or you can just go out and get your own. Seriously, this is the best book I’ve read in a long, long time.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get back to Canticle, the sequel to Lamentation.

You can find Ken Scholes’ official website by following this link.

Song of the Week: Rise Above This, By Seether

Not only is this a good song, but the video is also well done. It’s a poignant reminder that our actions will always affect the ones we love, whether they’re good or bad. Seether is a South African band that never fails to bring brooding vocals along with crunchy guitars. This song reminds me of the manuscript I’m critiquing. I hope the author likes it too.

Book Review: The Human Disguise, by James O’Neal

Sometimes you read, and really enjoy a book. Then you go to see what some of the other readers had to say and you scratch your head. You wonder if you just read the same book everyone else was complaining about? Surely they’ve confused this book with another, less awesome book. But sadly, that’s not the case.

That’s exactly how I feel about The Human Disguise. This is a really good book I think readers either misunderstood, or let genre bias influence their experience.

Let me explain. Many of the poor reviews complain that this book wasn’t Science Fiction-y enough. They felt bamboozled by a book set in a future United States where Hawaii has become its own country, all the borders are closed, there are several lawless quarantine zones to keep any number of refugees to bioplague victims out of the country. Guns that can melt anything they touch are being used to do exactly that. Oh, and a massive space ship with an alien delegation will arrive in four years. They also complained that this was more of a police procedural, rather than a work of Science Fiction. I just don’t get it.

How are readers going into a book with preconceived notions of what kinds of Science Fiction they expect? I personally go into each book hoping to find a good read, with an open mind. You know, give each storyteller a chance to weave their tale and enchant me. I think it’s unfortunate that other readers let any number of preconceived notions influence their reading experience, especially for a book so well written. Did I mention Publisher’s Weekly gave it a starred review as well? Well they did and this book is worthy of such praise.

The Human DisguiseAnyway, let’s move on to the blurb. From the publisher:

The world has been shattered. Disease and war have ravaged the Earth. A resurgent Germany once again threatens Europe, and the United States is engaged in the Middle-East while New York sits, an empty, radioactive ruin. The city of Miami has become a virtual prison, home to the worst life has to offer.

Tom Wilner lives on the outskirts of this forsaken realm. He’s what this future passes off as a police officer. With his family shattered, Wilner is just a pale version of the police hero he once was. When a chance encounter in a rundown roadhouse erupts in violence, Wilner is forced to step in.

His exploration into the violence of that evening leads him onto the path of two ancient warring races. They have been manipulating power and control on Earth for centuries, and are about to enter into a battle for ultimate supremacy. Unless Tom Wilner puts an end to their fury.

The star of this book is overworked cop, and family man, Tom Wilner. He’s a war veteran who happens to be in the middle of a divorce and trying to figure out how his marriage went wrong. He knows he shouldn’t be following his wife, but he can’t help himself. He really doesn’t like the man she left him for–notorious criminal, Tiget Nadovich. When Tom witnesses an exchange gone wrong, he is forced to act. Yes, you’ll find a bar shootout in the first few pages of this book.

Mr. O’Neal paints a vivid picture of a future United States. Money and resources are scarce. Criminal behavior doesn’t get you a prison sentence anymore, it gets you 5-10 in the military. War and the fear of terrorist attacks are constantly on everyone’s mind. New York City is an empty husk after a second, nuclear 9/11 attack. Even the alien vessel entering our galaxy is a constant, looming threat. The world has fallen on hard times, but her citizens keep on keeping on. The setting, particularly what was known as Miami and most southern Florida, is definitely one of the pluses of this book. Readers are treated to a rich, and fully realized world.

What I think makes this book memorable are the characters. Each one has motivations of their own which often clash with someone else’s. It adds plenty of tension which leads to plenty of action. Readers get to see the logic behind each character’s choices, why they do the things they do. I particularly found Tiget Nadovich, the supposed “bad guy,” to be one of the most fascinating characters in the book. Most of his life he’s been trying to protect his family and all of his actions, up until this point, have made perfect sense. Tom’s soon to be ex-wife, Svala, used to be Tiget’s wife. It turns out these two men have been on a collision course for a while now. The fully realized characters only add to the inevitable showdown, and overall story.

There is a whole other aspect of this book I can’t really talk about without spoiling the book. I can say the author does a fantastic job of not giving away secrets too soon. Readers are allowed to explore his new world and start putting two and two together. I’ll admit, while I had an idea about the “surprise,” I never really knew for sure. Mr. O’Neal does a fantastic job keeping readers on their toes trying to figure out what other forces may be at play. Not to mention who may be involved. I’ll give you hint: check out the title.

Would I read the sequel, Double Human? Hell yeah! By the way, it’s already out.

What I liked:

  1. How easily readers are immersed in a future United States. Things are different, yet strangely familiar. Readers could easily imagine a war torn future like the one presented in this book happening some day.
  2. The police work. I enjoyed following Tom as he pieced together a potential terror plot.
  3. The characters. Each character was worthy of following and brought something different to the table that is The Human Disguise. Each is fully realized and comes with their own set of beliefs and flaws. They were really well done.
  4. The subtlety of the twist. Mr. O’Neal takes this story to an unexpected place…in a good way. Readers are led to believe something may be different naturally, through the character’s eyes.
  5. The constant threat of war. Seriously, the US is engaged on multiple fronts. Criminals are sentenced to military service instead of rotting away in a cell somewhere. There are times where the threat of being sent to the military affects the character’s actions.
  6. The alien threat. We never really know if the arriving aliens are peaceful or not. I liked not knowing and having yet another potential threat looming overhead.
  7. The human element. The author challenges humanity in general with global threats–like war, plague, and nuclear attacks, all the way to the localized threats–like segregation, prejudice, and lack of resources (food, fuel, and basic necessities). Tom faces a more personal challenge as his wife leaves him for another man. He’s left to wonder why as he raises two kids and works full time. Readers are left to wonder what they would do after coming face to face with the reason their significant other left? It adds layer upon layer to an already great story.

What I didn’t like:

  1. The very end. I won’t give anything away, but I will say I didn’t believe it. Was it possible? Yes. Was it believable? For me, not so much.
  2. To me, the entire book felt like a prologue to a much grander story. While I enjoyed this book a lot, it felt like an appetizer instead of a main course.
  3. Tom and Shelby. Look, I understand a man has certain needs, but if he’s hoping to reconcile with his wife he probably wouldn’t fall for another woman at the same time. Their relationship seemed a bit out of place for me.

Overall: I’m giving The Human Disguise four out of five stars. Following a cop through a gritty future with plenty of action and suspense is always a fun ride. This book is no exception. Mr. O’Neal treats readers to some subtle, well done Science Fiction with a healthy dose of police procedural, making for an interesting, and satisfying read. If you’re looking for spaceships, laser guns, and aliens, you’ll likely be disappointed. If you’re looking for a good book with solid characters, perfect pacing, and story elements that keep you on your toes, then this is a book you should definitely try. I’ll be looking for the sequel and can’t wait to see where Mr. O’Neal takes the characters I’ve come to care about.

You can find James O’Neil by following this link.

Book Review: 30 Days of Night: Fear of the Dark

It’s safe to assume I’ll read any horror book where vampires are biting someone’s throat out. That’s why I wanted to read 30 Days of Night: Fear of the Dark. It also didn’t hurt that Tim Lebbon, the author who wrote the movie tie in book, wrote this completely new story set in the 30 Days of Night world. If you’ve read the graphic novels or watched the movie, you know these vampires have rows of sharp teeth and think of humans as little more than cattle, food. Awesome, right?

30 Days of Night Fear of the DarkFrom the publisher:

Marty Volk has a guardian angel. For the past five years, since he was twelve years old, it has saved Marty whenever he’s been in danger. And from a single darkened glimpse one night on the streets of London, he thinks it’s his long-lost sister Rose—ten years older than him, beautiful, intelligent . . . and deceased. For Rose has become a creature of legend that thrives, along with her undead companions, in the shadows of the human world . . . one who tenaciously holds on to her new existence, and who will do anything to survive. . . .

Fear of the Dark tells the story of Rose Volk, a vampire who chooses not to feed on live, human blood. She’s been missing for five years and her family, with the exception of her little brother, believe her to be dead. Turns out she’s been watching out for her little brother from the shadows and darkness. Mr. Lebbon creates some great characters in this story, Rose first and foremost. She constantly fights her inner bloodlust and her attachment to her previous life. Inner conflict only adds to the tension, yo. And boy, do we have loads of tension.

Rose’s younger brother Marty, on the other hand, is a whiny and overly emotional teenager. He’s never given up hope that his big sister would walk back through the door one day. I found Marty to be too much of a wuss. I mean, he pees his pants several times throughout this story. He complains, he does things he knows he shouldn’t, then complains that he did them, mouths off, and hopes his vampire sister will save him time and time again. Anyway, his weakness becomes Rose’s weakness too, which I did like. When she has to stop and think about helping her brother instead of doing the right thing, it adds to the tension, and stakes.

What Tim does so well is stay faithful to the original 30 Days of Night world. I could easily see this being made into a successful film. These vampires were cold blooded killers. They took what they wanted, when they wanted to take them. I also liked how he incorporated Stella Olemaun, from the graphic novels, into this story. She’s not a main player, but she does play a small role. All the little things make this story feel like it belongs in the 30 Days of Night universe. Kudos to Tim for his attention to detail.

The first quarter of this book starts out like a bat out of hell. The pace is blistering and readers are easily sucked into the story. I was surprised by how much action happens so soon. And I loved it. Unfortunately, the bar is set so high that when things calm down for too long, you begin to wonder when more carnage will happen. Eventually more action is sprinkled throughout the middle, but never quite like the beginning of the book. This is the rare case where I think so much good action, so soon, actually works against the rest of the book because you come to expect all the action to be as good. You want more. It’s a good thing that when more action happens, the quality stays high. I guess Tim likes spinning an intelligent, and gory tale. I do too.

What I liked:

  1. Rose Volk. She’s a great character to build a story around. I even wanted to know more of her backstory because she’s so interesting. I wondered how she felt toward the vampire who turned her. Her life was changed and all because he was lonely. Healthy questions about a character’s backstory are a good thing. She’s definitely interesting and easy to root for. She’s making the most out of her new situation, the best way she can. I’d like to see more of her in future books.
  2. The Vampires. If you want your vampires to be hungry, throat ripping, blood slurping monsters, you picked the right book. Mr. Lebbon even shows us another side of these vampires as some choose not to feed on live, human blood. He even differentiates between popular vampire myths like fear of crosses, no mirror reflections, and adverse reactions to garlic, and the 30 Days of Night vampires. These vampires have their own lore, and rightfully so, and readers are treated to how they work.
  3. The family dynamic between Rose and Marty. Rose is strong. Marty is not. Having Rose constantly worrying about her brother adds a whole new layer to the story.
  4. The authenticity. Mr. Lebbon’s attention to detail makes this story feel like it belongs in the 30 Days of Night universe.
  5. No character is safe. I love how Tim isn’t afraid to kill off his characters. When the story calls for blood, he gives you blood…in buckets.
  6. The first quarter of the book. Man, the pace and action of the first quarter of this book makes it worth reading just for that. The rest is gravy.
  7. The London setting. I like how Tim presented London after dark. It’s gritty and feels like an authentic big city. He includes everything from junkies, crowded tubes, and even the smell of piss in doorways.

What I didn’t like:

  1. Marty Volk. He’s a bit too whiny and emotional to want to root for. Halfway through the book I was hoping the bad guys would catch and eat him so he would stop whining. Seriously. Maybe they do…you’ll have to read to find out.
  2. The middle lags. The beginning is awesome. The end is also awesome. The middle, unfortunately, isn’t.
  3. The rapid fire POV’s at the end. While I like the ending, Mr. Lebbon switches character POVs sometimes after a single page so readers are following four different characters in a single chapter.
  4. The “bad vampires” motivation. I won’t get into specifics, but I will say the logic behind them seeking out Rose is thin at best.

Overview: I’m giving 30 Days of Night: Fear of the Dark a solid 3 and a half stars out of five. While this book won’t be up for any awards, it will satisfy any vampire lover’s fix. These aren’t your traditional vampires either. If you like your vampires predatory and your horror bloody, you should definitely give this book a try. I enjoyed my time with Tim Lebbon’s take on the 30 Days of Night vampires. I hope he continues with another story starring Rose. I’d slap my money down for another go. I’ll definitely keep my eye out for what Tim writes next and search out some of his earlier works.

My Third Liebster Award.

Hey, how’s everyone doing this fine day? Meghan Masterson was kind enough to think of me as she passed out Liebster Awards. Thanks, Meghan. You can find her Liebster post by following this link. You should probably follow her too. She’s full of historical facts and other writerly things. You just may learn something new too.

liebsteraward

Since this is my third Liebster, I should be an expert, right? This is the part of the post where I tell everyone on the internet eleven things about me. Are you ready?

  1. I prefer beer over wine. In fact, I really don’t like wine at all. Please, don’t offer me any.
  2. I’m not a fan of milk. While I’m not allergic, it sometimes does bad things to me.
  3. I have broken four bones in my lifetime–left wrist, two toes (one big, one little), and a ring finger. Almost all happened while playing basketball.
  4. I prefer boxer shorts. You’re welcome.
  5. I’m rarely clean shaven because of my sensitive skin. I’m usually sporting some kind of stubble, but not a full beard.
  6. I’ve needed glasses since the fifth grade but have always hated wearing them until I got older. I don’t mind glasses anymore.
  7. I wanted to be a teacher when I was in high school. It never happened.
  8. Before Buck, my current dog, I adopted a black Lab mix with a hole in her heart. She lived almost three years. Her name was Jasmine. She loved the snow. I miss her.
  9. I believe in ghosts and haunted houses.
  10. I’m the person my sister prefers to babysit her kids. From dirty diapers, puke, and homework, I’ve seen it all….and lived to tell the tale.
  11. Without music, life wouldn’t be as fulfilling. Yes, I sing along. Yes, I can carry a tune. Yes, I play the guitar too…but not while I sing. Weird.

Bonus fact: I’m a Sagittarius. Here are a few traits: the Sagittarius individual is a free spirit who is an easy-going, optimistic, inquisitive, and very straightforward soul who was born to explore, both inwardly and outwardly. Don’t ask me why I included this. Maybe it helps explain why I’m me? Anyway, there you have it.

Well, what do you think? TMI? It’s all in the name of fun, and science! Next I have to answer eleven additional questions straight from Meghan as she twists my arm. Aren’t you guys lucky?

  1. What is your most random talent? Singing, painting, and playing the guitar weren’t enough? Geez, tough crowd! How about this, I can fix just about anything.
  2. You’ve been offered a chance to go to the moon. Do you accept? Absolutely! They may need me to fix the shuttle along the way. Plus, OUTER SPACE!!!
  3. What is the most memorable book you have read this year? I’m going to go with Brian Ruckley’s Godless World Trilogy. Yeah, I know a trilogy means three books but they go together so well. You’ll find out how much I loved them in the book reviews tab at the top of the page.
  4. Do you have a favorite word that you overuse, or wish you had opportunity to use more often? I try to slip the word “pernicious” into each of my manuscripts. It’s just a fancy way to say evil.
  5. What is your favorite season, and why? Winter. I love the snow. It makes me feel at peace.
  6. If you could see any band/artist in concert, from any time period, and meet them afterword, who would it be? Beethoven. I’d want to see just how much of a genius and how deranged he really was. Plus Moonlight Sonata is one of my favorite songs. I’d definitely pick his brain about that too.
  7. What was your favorite childhood movie? Ghostbusters. That probably explains a lot.
  8. Let’s say you have invented a time machine. Where do you go first? Nowhere. I smash the hell out of it. Things happen for a reason, even the bad things. It would take one pernicious person to destroy the world. We’re probably better off without time machines. And yes, I totally slipped pernicious into this post for a second time. Ha!
  9. Would you rather do a speech in front of a hundred people, or go to the dentist for a root canal? Easy. I’d give the speech and wonder why only a hundred people showed up. I have no problem speaking in public. Bring it on.
  10.  If you could shift into any kind of animal, which one would you try first? A cheetah. I want to experience how fast they run.
  11. If you suddenly needed three hours less sleep than normal, what would you do with those extra three hours? Write more, critique more, and read more. Maybe clean a little more too. I’m neat like that.

There you have it. Twenty two things you never knew you wanted to know about me. Try not to use them against me or I’ll rebuild that time machine and clean your toilet with your toothbrush. You’ll never know! Mwuh-ha-haaaa!

The first eleven folks who want to tackle these questions (because they are great questions) should go for it. Just make sure you give Meghan a shout out because she came up with them.

Thanks again, Meghan. Any excuse to have a bit of fun is all right with me.

Song of the Week: Linger, by The Cranberries

I’ve been critiquing a friend’s manuscript and I like to listen to music as I review my notes. I decided to make a playlist of the songs I feel remind me of this person’s characters and story. I thought it would be cool to start sharing some of those songs. You know, for strictly scientific reasons. 😉

The first song I chose was Linger, by The Cranberries. While the cheating aspect doesn’t come into play for this manuscript, I love the sense that even though one of the couple knows the other may not be the best for them, they can’t help but stay. Do you have to let it linger? That line works so well for the main character of this particular manuscript. Even though she may have to suffer, she can’t help but follow her love. He lingers in her heart. So she follows. The heart overrides the head.

Have any of you created a playlist for either your manuscript, or a friend’s? What songs would best describe your manuscript?

Book Review: The Edinburgh Dead, by Brian Ruckley

Isn’t it refreshing when you read a book you can’t quite classify but absolutely love? That’s how I feel about The Edinburgh Dead. This book is part murder mystery, police procedural, historical fiction, and gothic horror. Think Sherlock Holmes meets Frankenstein…in 1828 Edinburgh, Scotland.

The Edinburgh DeadFrom the publisher:

Edinburgh: 1828

In the starkly-lit operating theaters of the city, grisly experiments are being carried out on corpses in the name of medical science. But elsewhere, there are those experimenting with more sinister forces.

Amongst the crowded, sprawling tenements of the labyrinthine Old Town, a body is found, its neck torn to pieces. Charged with investigating the murder is Adam Quire, Officer of the newly- formed Edinburgh Police. The trail will lead him into the deepest reaches of the city’s criminal underclass, and to the highest echelons of the filthy rich.

Soon Quire will discover that a darkness is crawling through this city of enlightenment – and no one is safe from its corruption.

This is one of those books where the blurb doesn’t really do the story justice. I understand you can only squeeze so much into a blurb, but c’mon, this is as whittled down as it gets. Had I never read Mr. Ruckley’s previous books, I probably wouldn’t have given this one a second look. I’m pleased to say I had enough sense to purchase The Edinburgh Dead.

Mr. Ruckley has yet to disappoint me with his writing style. His prose effortlessly leaps from the page and is easy to follow, even for a guy who has never been to Edinburgh. The setting, 1828 Edinburgh, was a breath of fresh air. Brian’s descriptions puts readers there among the squalor of Old Town with the common folk scratching and clawing out an existence any way they can. Although there were times when I would have liked a little less description, overall the setting becomes a vivid and viable part of the story.

The star of our story is Sergeant Adam Quire, a veteran who fought to quell Napoleon’s rebellion. Quire is a man who excelled at being a soldier and keeps cool under pressure. He’s also a man holding demons in his head like anyone who has seen so much carnage would. Yet, on a police force where men aren’t paid enough to always go above and beyond the call of duty to solve crimes, especially when it comes to the poor denizens of Old Town, Quire has earned the city’s respect for doing just that. His dogged pursuit of justice is what eventually lands him in hot water with his superiors. I rather enjoyed my time with Sergeant Quire. He was a believable, and flawed, character that was easy to root for. Even when you knew his actions would come back to haunt him, readers are right there egging him on. He’s a common guy with morals, like most anyone else.

The gothic horror comes into play as grave robbers dig up and sell the recently dead to various institutions for medical experimentation. Some use the cadavers to learn about the human body, while others have other, nefarious, plans. In an interview in the back of the book, Mr. Ruckley says he was inspired by the story of Burke and Hare, two of the most famous grave robbers of the time. Both men play a part in this story giving it an air of real history, which I like.

If you’re a fan of gothic horror, historical murder mysteries, and tightly woven stories with three dimensional characters, this book is for you. I’m to the point where whatever Brian releases next, I’ll buy. I don’t care what the book is about. He has quickly become one of my favorite authors and I’m looking forward to reading whatever he produces next. Yes, I find his writing to be that good.

What I liked:

  • The setting. Mr. Ruckley brings readers back in time when stagecoaches, oil lamps, and poverty were the norm. He paints a vivid portrait of Edinburgh, circa 1828.
  • The characters. Adam Quire is a fully realized and believable main character. I rather enjoyed all the characters, from the minor to the major. They all seemed like real people in the midst of their lives and I was peeking in on them.
  • The horror aspect. Mr. Ruckley does a marvelous job of not giving, or showing, too much about these abominations walking around. His effective, and often subtle, use of horror techniques is superb and should be read by writers looking for an example of how to give without giving away too much, too soon. His use of sounds when crafting tension is also superb.
  • The pacing. I never once was bored reading this book. Mr. Ruckley keeps the plot moving along at a nice trot and never strays from that pace making it easy to turn the page.
  • The use of history. I loved learning about every day life back in 1828 as I read. I also enjoyed how he incorporated the real life story of Burke and Hare into his fiction.
  • Logic versus mysticism. Mr. Ruckley covers all the medical bases with his use of cadavers as well as the mystical through his use of wards, incantations, and spells. The contrast, like the one between New Town and Old Town, adds a whole other layer to the story, and book. Characters can’t help but wonder if the Devil is involved in these murders, and that’s exactly what they would do. Even the sensible Sergeant starts to wonder if there are “other” forces at work.

What I didn’t like:

  • The ending, while satisfactory, didn’t feel grand enough to me. Mr. Ruckley does such a wonderful job building up to it that when you get there you’re like, “That’s it?”
  • There are times where he gives a little too much description.

Overall: I’m giving The Edinburgh Dead four and a half stars out of five. This was a solid, and easy, read. Mr. Ruckley quickly sucks readers into his world and holds them until the ride is over. I was pleased to find everything I could possibly want in this book and more. It exceeded my expectations and helped etch Brian Ruckley’s name on the list of my favorite authors. I’d highly recommend you shamble your way to the book store and pick up a copy today. Sherlock Holmes meets Frankenstein, who wouldn’t want to read that?

You can read a free sample (through Orbit book’s official website) by clicking on this link.

You can find Brian Ruckley’s official website by following this link.

You can follow Brian Ruckley on twitter by following this link.