Review: Happy Easter ~ Michael Gemma

Happy Easter

For many many years people have adopted the Easter tradition of coloring and hiding eggs, and by far the most popular treat given to children to consume is the chocolate Easter bunny.

This is a short story about a twisted take on the holiday celebrations from the chocolate bunnies point of view.

*WARNING* this story contains gore, it is not intented to be read by children.

1 Thumbs-Up

This is definitely not a touchy feely short story intended for children.  This will also probably be the shortest review I’ve ever written and, to date the lowest rating.

The basic idea of the story is good, a nice little horror twist on the traditions of Easter.  It has all the components of intending to be a serious competitor in the horror short story club; blood, suspense, ‘monsters’ but falls short sadly.

There is no character development, and I’ve seen shorter novels with more character oomph than this one has, so length is not the issue.  Descriptions are reserved for the gory scenes, so another negative mark there unfortunately.  So what made me read this?  I like new twists on old traditions, and this had the hallmark of being able to deliver and, I think if the Author had spent a little more time thinking through his concept, it would’ve worked perfectly.  As it is I feel I wasted the 99c I paid for this, but if you are a little intrigued it’s now free on Amazon.

The proofreading and editing of this little tome was the worse I have seen so far (the spelling error in the disclaimer should have set my alarm bells ringing) and really detracted from the story the Author was trying to convey.  I’m not trying to be mean to the Author, as I understand we all have to start somewhere, but if you are going to offer your work for sale please make sure you have made the necessary corrections.

Again this is a first for me, and maybe because of all the ‘firsts’ I should have rated this higher but, I cannot recommend this short to anyone and, as it seems to be the first (there’s that word again) in an ongoing series I dread to think how the other parts will turn out.  In summary, this short read as if the Author has sat down one lunchtime, thrown a few words on paper, then published it; even Writers Carnival, where it was first featured on July 9 2013 no longer carries it, or the subsequent other 3 parts, on its website.  It’s not often I really mess up when buying a book based on Amazon’s ‘look inside’ feature, but oh boy was I duped this time.

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Review: Deceptive Cadence (The Virtuosic Spy, #1) ~ Kathryn Guare

Deceptive Cadence

The debut of a new hero in international suspense. MI6 has recruited its most unlikely agent an Irish musician sent to India to capture the man who ruined his career: his own brother.

Until Thomas disappeared, Conor McBride had assumed his brother was a simple Irish farmer, content to remain at home while his younger brother chased a career in Dublin as a violinist. That assumption was shattered the day Conor was arrested, falsely implicated as his brother’s accomplice in a conspiracy to commit international fraud.

Five years later, an eccentric British intelligence agent has turned up in Conor’s living room to deliver another shock about his missing brother: Thomas is in India, and involved in something far more dangerous than fraud.

Persuaded that he represents Thomas’s last chance for redemption, Conor is recruited by MI6 to find him. His unlikely journey progresses from the seedy dance bars and back alleys of Mumbai to the tranquil ashrams of Rishikesh, forcing a crisis of identity as he transforms from musician to trained operative.

He is becoming a virtuoso of a different sort, and as Conor reluctantly descends deeper into the world of covert intelligence, he confronts a revelation about his mission that will again shatter all his assumptions about his brother, and faces the possibility that the people he trusted may want him dead.

4 Thumbs-Up

This is the Authors debut novel, and the first in a series featuring the main lead.

I like political thrillers but, if there a few things that will turn me away from reading one it’s the words MI:6, MI:5 and IRA.  Authors such as John Le Carre and Stella Rimington always seem to struggle to make these subjects engaging and accessible to the non-spy community, and their books are as dry as kindling.  Not anymore, there is a new Author on the ups, and she’s out to take her place among the greats in this genre.

The characters in this novel are real, not in the manner in which they are living breathing real, but in the fact that they smoke, swear, get drunk, and  grieve but not in a condescending manner.  They do all these things with the vigour of a real human being.  The way this Author develops the back stories of her characters is also dealt with in a kind of real-time way; we are allowed to learn more about them as the novel progresses, and the circumstances suit a particular trait to be revealed, just as we would get to know someone new in our everyday lives.  The main lead for this, and the upcoming books in the series, is a strong male.  Not too strong that the reader can’t identify with him, and not strong in the physical way either, but his strength is more an inner state of mind for this character, and sometimes he takes stock of throughout the book.  The character is allowed to show his emotions in such a way that I didn’t feel like the Author was trying to make him more effeminate, but was revealing that even the strongest of people have inner turmoil.  His mentor was absolutely spot on, or as I envision these types to be.  He was pompous, arrogant and sported a ‘stiff upper lip’ marvellously, while at the same time revealing snippets of his own history that made me want to know more about him, and why he had chosen to project this type of image over any other he could have chosen.  If there is a stereotypical Englishman, this character would be the poster child.

Descriptively, this novel is right on the mark; whether the Author is describing the workings, sound  and feel of a violin to the nuances of the way a Symphony Orchestra conducts (excuse the pun) itself, the reader is there.  I mean right there listening to the music and watching the Orchestra.  When we hit the road for the travelling portions, the way the airport, cities, sounds sights and smells are written made me want to pack my back, pick up my camera and head out with the main lead on his travels.

The novel moves along at a steady pace, and doesn’t become bogged down in any particular place, as is the tendency with a lot of novels in this genre; the transitions are smooth and seamless.  It is well written and obviously very well researched.  There were, however, a couple of places in the novel that made me think ‘now why did you have to go and write that, and just there too?’, but that’s just my personal take on the book.

This is an engaging, high-octane, entertaining political thriller that I would recommend to anyone that is new to the genre and those who, like me, are tired of the same old thing being regurgitated by Authors who should know better.  I am looking forward to reading more in this series.

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