Tag Archives: thriller

Superheroes in Thriller Fiction

A few years back, I read three books in a row that sort of opened my eyes to the use of some sort of super human in crime/thriller fiction. The first was Greg Iles’ The Devil’s Punchbowl, the second was Robert Crais’ The First Rule, and the third was C.J. Box’s Cold Wind. Let me throw in Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar series with this bunch.

It struck me as I read, that each hero/protagonist was aided by someone with almost superhuman abilities. In the three mentioned books all of them were Special Forces types. Iles’ main character is attorney Penn Cage, and I love his Natchez southern settings. In this book, however, Cage is up against really really bad guys involved with a floating casino, and he calls a guy to help out – an ex-Seal named Daniel Kelly. Kelly and his guys are so good it’s scary in itself. You’re certainly glad they’re on your side.

In the second book, Crais steps away from Elvis Cole, his usual protagonist, to allow Cole’s sidekick, Joe Pike, to move front and center. Pike is another Special Forces type, though I’m not sure about what branch. Totally confident and as tough as nails. And he’s got those Special Forces skills that make him seem invincible.

In the third book, CJ Box’s protagonist is a rather normal game warden named Joe Pickett. But Joe is friends with a guy named Nate Romanowski, who is wanted by the government. Nate is another scary-good ex-Special Forces type whose plans always seem to work out.

I threw in Bolitar’s name because he has his buddy Win Lockhorn, the prissy rich guy who (along with Myron) has some sort of Special Forces training and who also always seems to know he’s going to win. Fortunately for the good guys, he always has, so far.

Some of the other thriller series feature guys who are scary good at what they do, like Jack Reacher of the Lee Child series, or Lincoln Rhyme, the quadraplegic genius of Jeffrey Deaver’s books.

About the only guy who is really good but isn’t exactly a superhuman is Harry Bosch. But he’s close.

Just some stuff that crossed my mind as I knocked out those three books.  Does one “need” a superhero, invincible-type character in order to make things work in these sorts of thrillers?  If you can think of other examples, please post them in the comments.

*****

ODD MAN OUT – Prologue

(I have three new stories ready to go; I’m just dragging my feet on publishing them because I want to get a few other things in place before I start running them out there.  One is a long version of my short story “Odd Man Out,” which was published as a standalone (with another short story called “The House at the Bend in the Road”) and as part of the collection 14 DARK WINDOWS.  What follows is the Prologue of that story, which is novella-length (about 33,000 words, if I recall correctly).  Watch this space or sign up for my soon-to-come mailing list to find out when it is available on Amazon.

ODD MAN OUT

Prologue

Roger Sinclair checked the calendar that hung on the wall over his computer. October nineteenth. Only the nineteenth. It seemed that the thirty-first was taking forever to arrive this year. Time was dragging.

Anticipation had a way of making the passage of time seem very slow.

The Cabin Weekend was approaching, and Roger had big plans for the traditional yearly gathering of his friends.

Friends. That was a laugh. They didn’t like him any more than he liked them. They used him. They always had. Vinnie, Jack and Paul – they hung around with him – no, they let him hang around with them – because he was smart, dependable, and well-off. He made them feel superior – Look at rich, smart, loser Roger, who can’t get a girl and gets shunned by everyone…but us! We’ll take pity on the loser, and we’ll take advantage of his brains and his wealth.

Like the Cabin Weekend. They always went to Roger’s cabin. None of them had cabins. And why spend money on a real vacation when they could just sponge off Roger? Vinnie and Susan, Jack and Nancy, and Paul and whatever hot-looking hosebag he was dating at the moment.

Well, not this year. Paul wasn’t dating a hot-looking hosebag anymore. He was engaged. To Amy Wellington. Amy might be hot, but she was no hosebag. She was the epitome of class. She was the girl of Paul’s dreams, as Paul himself had pointed out.

She was also the girl of Roger’s dreams, but that was beside the point. Paul never cared about what Roger wanted, only what he wanted. He wanted Amy, so of course he ended up with her. That’s how it worked with Paul.

No matter that he had been Roger’s guest at a charity function when he met Amy. Paul had deigned to accompany Roger to the event when Roger’s own date fell through. ‘Fell through’ is sort of misleading. She dumped me on my ass, he remembered. Bitch.

Focus! Roger forced himself to get back on track with his thoughts. This wasn’t about Melissa, the stick-up-her-ass bitch that worked in the IT department of Roger’s family’s company. The point was Paul, and how he met Amy, and how he had practically run Roger over in his zeal to get to her first.

Paul knew that Roger saw her first, that Roger wanted to take a shot with her, but could Paul let him have a chance? No, of course he couldn’t. What Paul wants, Paul gets.

Roger’s fantasy was that Amy would see Paul for what he was and eventually they’d split up. It would be Paul’s fault, of course, and Roger would be there for Amy. He’d be the understanding friend she would need, the shoulder she could cry on, the guy who’d be there for her as she worked through the pain of their broken engagement. Of course it would end Paul’s friendship with Roger, but that was okay. It wasn’t a real friendship, and it had not been one for a long time. Ever since that day at the frat party back in college…

Focus! he told himself again. This isn’t about embarrassment that Paul caused him in college, this is about Amy Wellington. Paul’s fiancee. Roger’s one true love.

And the Cabin Weekend would be the time when things would turn in favor of Roger.

#

(To find out what happens at the Cabin Weekend, watch for ODD MAN OUT at Amazon or on these pages…)

Books, books and more books…

Whoa, it’s been almost a month since I posted anything here.

I’ve been writing a little, trying to get my ducks in a row for some sort of concerted effort to release four novellas/novels within a short time.  Working on my post-apocalyptic novel, which is part The Stand and part Wool.  (There are three ways to survive this apocalypse.  1.  Build a shelter.  2.  Be immune to this virus.  3.  Be invited.)    Reworking blurbs for those three novellas and one novel.

But I’ve been reading.

A short time ago, I posted that I’d read, and was impressed with, Ernest Cline’s debut novel, Ready Player One.    I finished his second novel, a mashup of alien movie themes and stories, titled Armada.    I enjoyed it, not quite as much as the debut, but it was still a lot of fun.  Aliens are coming to destroy us, but we’ve known about it for the last forty years and have been preparing for the invasion.  And guess what?  We train our drone pilots by having them play video games.  Does that sound familiar?  Maybe something like The Last Starfighter?  It borrows, or pays homage, to that film along with 2001: A Space Odyssey and Contact and others.  It kept me (and my son) reading once we got into it.

I also picked up another book, one I’ve had sitting on the bookshelves since before Borders closed its doors (it still had the Borders sticker on it) called WWW: Wake by Robert J. Sawyer.  I’ve always enjoyed Sawyer’s works, and this one ended up being really good.  A blind girl with a very specific and rare type of blindness gets an implant which allows the visual signals to be altered and transmitted through the optic nerve, and it also allows her to “see” the World Wide Web.  Through her enhanced awareness of the Web, she becomes aware of something – some entity – lurking in the background of that network, and whatever it is, it’s learning and becoming more aware of itself.  Interesting premise, well-executed, with good characters and a setup for future books.  I may read in in the three book series at some point.

My ebook reading included Fatally Bound by Roger Stelljes, a thriller featuring a couple of too-good-to-be-true sleuths/agents.  I liked it, and it worked on a number of levels as they work the investigation alongside an FBI task force to locate a serial killer who is targeting various women who seem to have no common features or connections between them.  Also I read another installment in Boyd Craven’s The World Burns serial, this the seventh story, titled The World Cowers.  I have come to know and care about his characters and I want to find out where he’s ultimately going with the tale.  Also finished Sleep Tight by Anne Frasier, another serial killer thriller, and also a pretty good read.  And I read Edward W. Robertson’s third Rebel Stars book, titled Ronin.   Enjoyed it quite a bit.  Good space opera.

There are others, but that’s a good summary of some of the books I’ve been reading.

*****

Steven M. Moore titles on sale

Under “Books I Enjoyed that won’t set you back much…”

Steven M. Moore has two of his books (the Mary Jo Melendez books) on sale through this weekend,  only via Smashwords.  From his website:

Last weekend! The “Mary Jo Melendez Mysteries” are on sale. Mary Jo is inviting you to celebrate with her for leaving Amazon exclusivity and appearing on Smashwords too. She’s an ex-USN Master-at-Arms who manages to get into a lot of trouble as a civilian; she also manages to beat the odds and survive, though. Muddlin’ Through (Smashwords coupon code KY27A) is an international thriller where she works to clear her name and pay back the group that framed her. In the process, she discovers the MECHs, Mechanically Enhanced Cybernetic Humans, and romance as she runs around the U.S., South American, and Europe. Silicon Slummin’…and Just Gettin’ By (Smashwords coupon code VT64E) takes place almost exclusively in the Silicon Valley where she has two government groups pursuing her, one U.S., the other Russian. She also has a stalker on a revenge mission. Both books, normally $2.99, are $0.99 on Smashwords, using the coupon codes, until August 1—lots of entertaining summer reading for $2!

I’ve read them and I enjoyed both.  If you’re looking for a couple of good reads for $1.98, give them a look-see.

****

New (to me) Thrillers!

I recently found two authors who I decided to try, and found that I enjoyed their works.  I’ll be reading more of both.

Steve Richer is one.  I read his TERROR BOUNTY and enjoyed it quite a bit.  Here’s my Amazon review:

This was my first exposure to the thrillers of Steve Richer, and I’m gonna be going back for more! It was a fast-paced trip through the world of international terrorism and intrigue, and I had trouble putting it down. I loved the main characters (Rick and Olivia) and even though the idea that an amateur could just waltz into this world and accomplish what needed to be accomplished, in the end, I bought into it because it was such a fun story.

I’ll be trying more of Richer’s works.

I enjoyed reading about the terrorist’s ideas on the state of the world, which are juxtaposed with his murderous actions.  Nothing is black and white, in the book, or in the world…

Here’s the link to see it on Amazon:  TERROR BOUNTY by Steve Richer.

Another author is M.P. McDonald.  She uses a supernatural or magical device (a camera that takes pictures of future tragedies somehow) to allow her main characters to get into position to be involved with crimes and/or terrorism.  I’ve read three of McDonald’s books so far and enjoyed all of them.  Here’s my Amazon review of one of them:

I really enjoyed this thriller, which hinges on the unlikely existence of a camera that shows the future. There were great characters, tense situations, and a nice resolution. I’ve already read its sequel, CAPTURE, and will review that at some point in the future.

Short but to the point.   McDonald has written a series of five other books about Mark Taylor, the original owner of the camera.  I’ve read one of those, the first-in-series NO GOOD DEEDS, and enjoyed it quite a bit.  The two CJ Sheridan books were a lot of fun and quite tense at times.

Here’s the link to see SHOOT on Amazon:  SHOOT by M.P. McDonald.

Some very good, new-to-me- reads.

*****

Hanging with my ol’ friend Alex…

I finished reading Jonathan Kellerman’s KILLER, an “Alex Delaware” psychological thriller novel, yesterday.  The story grabbed me and I came to a point where I couldn’t put it down.

I feel like I’m reading about an old friend when I read Kellerman’s Delaware novels, and this one was no exception.  The familiar troika of Alex, gay police detective Milo Sturgis, and Alex’s significant other, Robin, are all present, as are a few bit players like Moe Reed and Petra Connor.  And the plot is familiar too:  A criminal case ties into Alex’s practice as a clinical psychologist.

If you’ve ever read any of these books, you know that Alex consults for the police, and Milo Sturgis is sort of a one-man police force due to some incriminating information he has over the current chief of police in Los Angeles.  Milo can do pretty much whatever he wants, and he has the best clear rate of any detective in L.A., thanks in no small part to the insights of his psychologist sidekick.  Alex also has varied experience ranging from hospital work to clinical therapy to court work to…well, he’s done a bit of everything, it seems, and he’s good at everything.  But through it all is a sense that he’s human, with human doubts and failings.  No superman sleuth here.  And there aren’t any special forces types waiting in the wings to bail them out if they get in over their heads.  I like that.   So many detectives have someone who is a little too tough to be believed, really, at their beck and call.  Not Alex.  He has Milo and a few other cops.  And Milo has Alex.

I also liked the voice that Kellerman uses in these first-person novels.  Alex is talking and thinking and telling the stories that make up the plot of these crime thrillers, and his voice is distinctive.  There’s a “clipped” feel to the writing that makes you know it’s Alex and not some other point of view (though I can’t really recall Kellerman altering the POV away from Alex in this series…but there’s a lot of books and maybe he has done so a time or two, shifting perhaps to Milo’s point of view).  You’re in Alex’s head, and it’s a comfortable and comforting place to be; a character who is confident in his skills but not omniscient or always right, and his discomfort when he thinks he’s been hoodwinked or something comes through and it feels right.

There was a point in the series where I felt Kellerman was “mailing it in” with these stories, that perhaps he had lost the passion for telling Delaware tales, but somewhere along the line, he got back on track (in my view) and these recent ones have been excellent.  This one is no exception.

This book starts with Alex talking about a woman walking into his office and making a thinly veiled threat to shoot him right then and there.  Needless to say, it spooks Alex, but he convinces himself that it wasn’t much of a threat and he doesn’t need to inform the police. At this point, he flashes back to the case in question, one where a woman (the woman who threatened him) wants to use the legal system to take her sister’s child away from her, using her considerable resources to hire “experts” and high-powered attorneys.  Alex is brought in by the judge, and he supports the child’s mother.  The judge agrees with him, and the case is resolved in that manner.  The woman, not accustomed to losing, makes her threats.  Alex informs the judge of what happened, and that is, he hopes, the end of it.

When Milo and another cop show up on his doorstep a short time later, Alex learns that the woman has tried to take out a contract to have Alex (and perhaps the judge, as well) killed.  The hit goes to a Hispanic gang, and it so happens that Alex had some dealings with this kid when he was a young diabetic who wasn’t following medical advice.  Alex made an impression, and as luck would have it, this kid, now a young adult and fully involved in the gang, really likes Alex and prevents the hit at the gang level, and in fact, goes to the cops.  Lucky break for Alex.  Once again, Alex feels the brush of death against him, how close he came, if not for this serendipitous relationship with a gang member in days gone past.

But the woman turns up dead, and guess who’s the prime suspect?  No, it isn’t Alex.  It’s the sister, who appears to have left town the very night of that murder.  Milo’s sure it was the sister who did it; everything seems to line up.  Motive, opportunity, and then the flight.  But Alex is so sure that he couldn’t have been wrong about her…and once again, Alex faces something that shakes his outward confidence.  You can feel his internal discomfort as you read these sections, as he tries to project calm and confidence outward.  But Robin knows, and so does Milo.

I was less than thrilled with the resolution of the case.  It worked, but I was hoping for something a little…less out of left field, I guess.  I won’t say more.  It didn’t ruin the book for me, but it did make me wish that there had been a more elegant solution to the mystery presented; that is, where was the sister, who killed the woman who threatened him, and what happened to the baby.

A good, quick, fun read that kept me sucked in for a day and a half with non-stop reading at night, in the morning, and finally, between patients and over lunch until I finished.  Looking forward to the next one when it hits the bargain shelves at Barnes and Noble.

*****

THE INN is live!

I finally did it!  THE INN, my 37,000 word horror/suspense/thriller, is live on Amazon!

Take a look at the cover:

The Inn Cover 4

Here’s the blurb from Amazon:

BAND TRIP TO PERIL…

The Jackson High School Band and student director Kimberly Bouton are making their biennial journey to a music festival in the deep South for fun and educational opportunities. Kim expects to deal with hormonal teenagers, a severe lack of sleep, and long boring bus rides, but the roadside inn where the band stays on their visit hides a sinister secret – and it translates to unimagined horrors for students and teachers alike…

Check into THE INN, where the guests are the entertainment…

It’s not for everyone.  It’s horror (nothing extreme, but people die and such, like in most horror), and it’s the realistic type of horror, not the supernatural type.  But please take a look if you are so inclined.

!!!!!

*****

My reality…

As you might know if you read the “About Me” section or my bio on Amazon or in any of the ebooks that have it in them, I work full-time as a healthcare professional.  And I am “Dad” to two teenagers, with all the attendant responsibilities.  I also have an older parent who still lives by herself and still drives, but is starting to get a little forgetful.

So I’m a little busy.

Work is about how it always is.  A little slow in September, as usual, after the kiddies go back to school and the parents take a breather from appointments.  I can always use a few new patients (so if you’re in the Crest Hill, IL area and you need a dentist…)  And my mom is about how she always is, also.    Both require a lot of time, but both always have and probably always will.

Then there’s the kids.  Both are involved, and both keep us plenty busy.  So where do I find the time to devote to my attempt to publish my stories?

I have this book, THE INN, ready to go; I had the cover done and had finished a final editing pass of the file.  But when I showed the cover to my wife, she thought we could tweak it a bit.  So I looked for the picture on the site where I thought I got it, a site where you can grab photos for free, for any use you want.  (I think it was Pixabay.)  But it wasn’t there.  So I searched the internet, and realized that I hadn’t found it there at all, but had seen it on a website and had saved the image to my computer.  I didn’t know about the rights to the image I had, and couldn’t really find anything, so I thought, it would be easier to find another image and make a new cover.

But I just have not had the time to do it.  This weekend is our first big marching band competition, and we’ll be gone almost all day for that, so I don’t know that I’ll get to it anytime soon.

Meanwhile, the book sits there, ready to publish.

If I get to it over the weekend, I could possibly have it available for purchase next week.  It’s a short novel or a novella, about 37,000 words (I think), and I think horror-thriller fans will like it.

The next one that is written but needs some rewrites and then editing is something I’m currently calling RECIPROCAL EVIL, but I’m not sure I like that title.

I finished Hugh Howey’s THE HURRICANE and will try to copy my Amazon review to the blog sometime later.

Till then, have a great weekend, readers!  (Am I being optimistic by making that a plural?)

*****

More Mini-reviews…

Finished up three books last week.  Two were ebooks by Edward W. Robertson, who writes the BREAKERS series.  The first was BLACKOUT, the final book of the eight-book BREAKERS series.  If you’re not familiar with the Breakers world, it is a post-apocalyptic tale where two things happen to end civilization as we know it:  a viral disease that claims around 99% of all people (like in King’s THE STAND, which Robertson admits to using as his inspiration in this series) and then an alien invasion.  Turns out, the aliens, huge crab-like beings, sent the viral plague to Earth, and they figured they’d wipe out all of humanity with it, but when they come to claim the empty planet, they find plenty of humans willing to fight them and their advanced technology.  BLACKOUT, as the final book, occurs as people are trying to rebuild some sort of civilization and society, only to discover that a second “mother ship’ of alien “Swimmers” has arrived.

I found it to be a satisfying conclusion to the series and one that followed logically from everything that happened before.  The people who I’ve gotten to know over seven books all seem consistent with the character that they’ve exhibited throughout the saga.  The aliens became a bit more knowable, and it set up another series in the same universe, but set many years in the future.  The other series is called the REBEL STARS series, and the first book of this saga, titled REBEL, is the other ebook I read.

I grabbed REBEL as part of a promotional “box set” with ten “galactic tales”, titled STARS AND EMPIRE.  (None of the other titles have really grabbed me much, so REBEL is the only one I’ve read, and it may continue to be the only one…)  So anyway, in REBEL, a crew of space asteroid miners is working on an asteroid when they make a discovery — an ice-bound alien ship.  Seems that this is a Swimmer spaceship, and these humans are the descendants of those people who dealt with the Swimmers when they first attacked Earth.  As they excavate the vessel, they are attacked and everyone except for one is killed.  Their discovery, which they had tried to keep secret, is stolen…and when someone gives the survivor a chance to recover it and also to get revenge on the murderers of her crewmates, she jumps at it.

It was a solid SF tale that made me want to read further in the series.  I think Edward W. Robertson is an excellent storyteller, and even if one didn’t care for post-apocalyptic tales, this REBEL STARS entry can be enjoyed as a straightforward SF novel.  (As an aside, I read another book by Robertson called THE ROAR OF THE SPHERES . which also dealt with colonization of our solar system, though that one was more focused on AI’s. The book has been renamed and re-edited, but I’m not sure what the new one is called.  (ETA:  The author informed me that the book is now called TITANS.)  It was also a very good SF book.)

And, speaking of Stephen King, I tackled REVIVAL, which is his second newest (FINDERS KEEPERS is his newest at the moment) novel.  I hadn’t heard great things about this novel, but I have to say I ended up enjoying it quite a bit.

It’s a bit of a slow starter.  When our hero, Jamie Morton, meets his “fifth business”, pastor Charles Jacobs, he’s only six.  And there’s a lot of backstory that King gives us in his usual colloquial style, about Reverend Jacobs’ fascination with electricity (the “secret” electricity, he calls it) and then the death of his lovely wife and young child and his subsequent loss of faith.  And of course, there’s Jamie’s backstory, his youth, his high school years, his discovery of the guitar and of rock and roll music, the love of his young life, Astrid, and his subsequent loss of his own faith and his separation from Astrid as they graduate from high school.

Jump forward a bunch of years and Jamie is a lifer in the music industry, being good enough to play professionally but not really quite good enough to be a star or in an A-list band.  He’s tooling around playing gigs at small venues, roadhouses and state fairs, and he’s doing a lot of drugs.  Mainlining heroin, in fact.  He’s reached bottom when he encounters Reverend Jacobs at the Oklahoma State Fair, where the former religious man is using his electrical inventions to take people’s photographs and do something … interesting … with them.  He takes Jamie in and uses his electricity to cure Jamie of his addictions.  He also hooks Jamie up with a job in Colorado, as a studio musician and recording engineer.  Jamie owes him big-time.

A third encounter with Pastor Danny (as Jacobs is now calling himself) occurs, as he and his boss (who also owes Jacobs) go to a tent-revival where he is performing genuine healings using the electricity, although he covers it in religious jargon and is clearly making a lot of coin doing so.

King masterfully weaves everything together at the end, and I didn’t care how implausible it was by then, because I just wanted to know how Jamie ended up.  I was satisfied with the conclusion; like Robertson’s Breakers series I described above, it seemed fair and logical with what happened in the book up until then.  King tends to be a bit wordy, but I like the way he uses language to bring characters and setting to life, and allows one to glimpse the inner workings of his characters’ brains.  The ending was about what I expected once I got past the steampunk vibe the book was putting out (with electricity being the main focus), but the journey, for me, was worth it, as it usually is with King’s books.

I’m onto Hugh Howey’s THE HURRICANE and King’s FINDERS KEEPERS (ebook and hardcover), and will probably post something on both of them when I finish them.

*****

Update on THE INN:  I decided that I’d better not use the cover image I was going to use because I’m not sure about the rights and permissions of it, so that is what’s holding up the release at this moment.  I made a different cover, but I’m not sure about it either.  So…I’ll post something when I finalize the new cover.

*****

Mini Reviews

After I finished GARDEN OF BEASTS, I read two more books, and I wanted to make a few comments on each.  I sort of read them simultaneously, so I’ll start with the one I just finished and move on to the other after that.

The first was THE BRIDE COLLECTOR by Ted Dekker.  We’ve all read this book before, in some form.  It was a serial killer thriller featuring an FBI team hunting a killer who is kidnapping beautiful women and killing them by draining their blood through their heels, then posing them by hanging them off of dowel pegs placed in the wall and gluing their shoulders to said wall.  As usual, there is a bit of discussion of forensic evidence and a lot of talk where the investigators discuss the killings and try to come up with a profile of the killer.

It wasn’t great, but it was good, and kept me reading.  Actually, toward the end, I really wanted to know what was going to happen, not so much because I was into the solution to the crime but because of the characters.  They were the most interesting thing about the book.  Dekker’s FBI guy, Brad Raines, is a troubled man who is, apparently from the reaction of all the women he encounters, really really really good looking.  (Yeah, I used three “really’s” there to emphasize the point because Dekker really emphasizes it.)   His psychologist/teammate Nikki Holder is also really really really beautiful, and they have a connection, and maybe even some sparks are going to fly between them.  But they never get started too much, because the evidence points to a private mental health facility called CWI (Center for Wellness and Intelligence), where high-IQ mental health patients live and receive treatment.  There they meet Paradise Founder, a young woman who has some issues, and her little clique of savants.

Those characters are the most interesting in the whole book, in my opinion.  They’re quirky and original, and I liked reading about them.  In fact, I’d love a whole book about them.  Brad Raines, who is sometimes referred to as “Rain Man”, finds that he has some things in common with the individuals housed in CWI, in that he’s a bit of a mental case himself with plenty of issues, and he’s quite obsessive/compulsive when it comes to his investigations.

Dekker took a few risks with the way the story played out, and I have to admit that there was a point where I was almost sort of put off by what happened.  But overall, it was a fairly typical serial-killer thriller novel, with the plus that it had some non-stock characters who added a lot to the narrative, in my humble opinion.

***

The second book I want to write a little bit about is one called NIGHTMARE CHILD, by Ed Gorman writing as Daniel Ransom.  This one was a fairly stock horror novel as well.  In it, a young 9-year-old girl is murdered by her sister and her sister’s husband (for her inheritance), and they get away with it.  That sounds like a typical thriller, right?  But then little Jenny, the dead 9-year-old, comes back.  She first encounters her neighbor, who she always called “Aunt Diane” and who lost her husband and is childless, though not because she doesn’t want or can’t have children.  Then Jenny returns to her sister’s house, where things begin to get strange.  (As if having a girl return from the dead isn’t strange enough.)  Diane is inclined to believe that the sister and brother-in-law are abusing the little girl, but is that the case?

This one is a well-written and well-constructed horror novel, and I wouldn’t expect less from Ed Gorman.  Everything I’ve read by him in the past has always been really engrossing.  This one is good, but I dont know…maybe I expected more when I saw that Ed Gorman wrote it.  One problem is with the ebook formatting.  There are chapter breaks, but within chapters the sections where point of view shifts and they aren’t separated in any way; they just run into each other.  After I got used to it, I was able to immediately figure out that there should have been a break in a specific place, but at first it threw me and pulled me out of the story as I struggled to figure out who was where and who they were interacting with.

All in all, it was a good read, worth the $2.99 I spent on it in the Kindle store, but not up there with the best of the genre, or even with the best of Ed Gorman.

My four cents (two for each book)…

*****