Graveyard Shift by Michael F. Haspil

graveyardI recently finished Graveyard Shift and thought it made a good start to a new supernatural detective style series.  I liked the concept.  A world in which vampires exist and have announced their existence to the public and with the help of synthetic blood are living amicably amongst us.  Supposedly – well, on the face of it.  Underneath the surface, a simple scratch will reveal not so deeply hidden tensions.  Vampires are predators, they’ve lived in the shadows for many moons, hunting their prey at night and enjoying the thrill of the chase and the terror that ensues.  Drinking luke-warm blood out of a bottle doesn’t really hold quite the same appeal to them as stalking a near petrified victim.  On the other hand this is a new revelation and humans also are not completely happy with the discovery that these imaginary creatures they’ve contemplated for years are actually real.  Many have taken to avoiding the night where possible, except the vampire wannabes of course who dress the part hoping for the immortal life that vampirism promises.  With the rise in crime the tensions run deep and it’s only a matter of time before chaos ensues.

Now, with the existence of vampires comes a new wave of crime, crime that needs it’s own nocturnal police force and so as the story begins we make the introduction of ‘Alex Menkaure, former pharaoh and mummy, and his vampire partner, Marcus, who was born in ancient Rome’ as they go in hot pursuit of their latest job, a vampire in a blood frenzy – it doesn’t sound pretty because it isn’t pretty.  Now, at first, this random attack appears to be a one off however it soon becomes apparent that isn’t the case.  At the same time there are a number of human, vigilante style attacks taking place which involves the death of a number of vampires and these crimes together with a spate of missing people and an influx of illegal blood and meat and you have a number of coincidences that are anything but coincidental.

What did I enjoy about Graveyard Shift in particular.  It’s a gritty, fast paced supernatural detective story.  There is plenty of action here and none of it is pedestrian or humdrum.  The crimes here all involve supernatural pursuits and lets just be honest, if vampires exist then it surely isn’t a surprise to find out that other supernaturals also walk the earth.  Set in Miami the story has an ‘underworld’ feel.  There are seedy clubs and underhand transactions that take place in dark alleys.  There is also a certain level of brutality which was to be expected in this sort of supernatural story – there are no sparkly vampires here and blood is definitely on the menu.  On top of that there is a particularly grim market that trades in blood and meat products – a particularly unsavoury aspect to the supernatural phenomena.

The main characters are clearly Marcus and Alex – although I suspect that they might have an addition to their number after this book.  I did like these two.  On balance, at the moment, I think Marcus is probably my favourite character, which is a little unusual in that I feel this is more Alex’s show.  At the moment I don’t have a real handle on Alex but hopefully that will develop, Marcus on the other hand, being a vampire, feels already well known – and I mean the in a good way not as a criticism – I simply think this is why I was able to form more of an attachment to him – plus I liked that he’s this ancient creature who oozes menace and commands respect.

In terms of criticism.  Well, I don’t think this particularly brought too much new to the table – other than Alex being a mummy and there’s still a lot of learn in that respect.  I think there’s a first book in series feel in that there isn’t a lot of history involved with either of the two characters, but I suspect that’s a definite ploy and more will probably be forthcoming in future stories but for the moment the characters need some development.  It has a feel as though the author is waiting to reveal something and I look forward to reading more to see what surprises are in store.

All in all an entertaining read and a world that is just waiting to be built upon.

I received a copy of Graveyard Shift from the publisher through Netgalley for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

Waiting on Wednesday : I Am Behind You (Platserna #1) by John Ajvide Lindqvist


“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was created by Breaking the Spine.  Every Wednesday we get to highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  My book this week is :  I Am Behind You (Platserna #1) by John Ajvide Lindqvist.  The Title, the cover and the write up give me the chills – I want this book.

iambehindyouA supernatural superthriller from the author of Let the Right One In

Molly wakes her mother to go to the toilet. The campsite is strangely blank. The toilet block has gone. Everything else has gone too. This is a place with no sun. No god.

Just four families remain. Each has done something to bring them here – each denies they deserve it. Until they see what’s coming over the horizon, moving irrevocably towards them. Their worst mistake. Their darkest fear.

And for just one of them, their homecoming.

This gripping conceptual horror takes you deep into one of the most macabre and unique imaginations writing in the genre. On family, on children, Lindqvist writes in a way that tears the heart and twists the soul. I Am Behind You turns the world upside down and, disturbing, terrifying and shattering by turns, it will suck you in.

Due out September 2017

Weekly Wrap Up : 23/7/17

Posted On 23 July 2017

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I’ve been away for a couple of weeks, now returned, and I need to catch up with everything.  We went to Malta and look who we found:

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Anyway, hope you all had a good week.  July is almost over (unbelievable) and here are my books from last week:

  1. Graveyard Shift by Michael F Haspil – interesting start to series with vampires, changers and a mummy.
  2. Blackwing by Ed McDonald – I loved this

Next week I’m hoping to read:

  1. Princess of Blood by Tom Lloyd
  2. Devil’s Call by J Danielle Dorn
  3. The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H Wilson

How was your week? What you currently reading?

 

Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.

FFO.jpg

Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .   This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book, compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below. This week’s theme:

Planet “Any planet is ‘Earth’ to those who live on it”

This week I’ve gone for: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein.

Oddly enough I like the fourth cover.  It just feels really retro:

moon5

Which is your favourite?

Next week – A knife

Future themes:

28th July 2017 – The kindest use a knife, because the dead so soon grow cold (A cover which features a knife)

4th August 2017 – From the ashes a fire shall be woken (A cover which features fire)

11th August 2017- No soldier outlives a thousand chances (A cover which features a soldier)

18th August 2017 – The world was my oyster but I used the wrong fork (A cover which features food)

25th August 2017 – If I be waspish, best beware my sting (A cover which features an insect)

1st September 2017 – Being born in a stable does not make one a horse (A cover which features a horse)

8th September 2017 – That great condenser of moral chaos, The City (A cover which features a city)

Blackwing (#1 Raven’s Mark) by Ed McDonald

I think I can say with a good degree of confidence that Blackwing will be on my end of year list of favourite reads.  This was so good it’s given me a whole new bout of faith in grimdark, which, I confess, I was becoming a little jaded with just recently.   Why did I love this? I’m not really sure I can’t explain to be honest, other than this is a book that is rounded. It has plenty of action and yet has taken the time to establish the roots of some excellent world building.  It has characters that feel familiar, they’re maybe not breaking the mould, but you will end up liking them with all their flaws.  It has surprises that really do surprise but more than that it manages to achieve a balance that keeps you teetering on a knife edge between hope and despair and for that I raise my glass to Mr McDonald.

This is a world where past wars have left a grim reminder of the price of super weapons. Many years ago The Nameless (long lived, powerful sorcerers) and the Deep Kings  (immortal and almost Gods would be my best description) went to war.  As a result the sorcerers unleashed their super power, Nall’s Engine.  Killing vast swathes of innocents and blighting a huge expanse of land (known with good reason as The Misery) in the process they succeeded in killing one of the Kings, stopping the war and holding off future attacks by the mere threat The weapon posed. The Kings are immortal though, they have patience and they haven’t really given up, they’re simply biding their time and gathering strength, waiting for weaknesses to be exposed.

The Misery is a haunted and poisonous wasteland full of dark magic, teeming with ghosts and inhabited by the strangest and deadliest critters.  Spending more than a couple of days under its brooding skies is enough to give the most battle hardened a case of the violent shakes and a need for alcohol in sufficient quantities to induce otherwise unattainable sleep.  But, more than that, The Misery is almost like a character in itself with its constantly changing landscape, deadly terrain and unnavigable skies it certainly is a fascinating place to read about although I wouldn’t personally want to pay it a visit.  Cowardly am I.

At the start of the story we make the acquaintance of Captain Galharrow as he heads into The Misery with his team of mercenaries in search of his latest bounty.  That is until he receives a mission from one of the Sorcerors.  Galharrow is in service to Crowfoot and one does not ignore a sorceror’s demands, therefore he and his team find themselves crossing part of The Misery to one of the outlying forts where they will pick up a young woman and return her to the safety of the City. The woman in question turns out to be a blast from the Captain’s past and the two of them are about to be thrown together in pursuit of a conspiracy that will threaten the lives of everyone outside The Misery..

in terms of characters.  The story is told through Galharrow’s POV and this is definitely one of the strong points to the book.  There is much more to Galharrow than at first meets the eye.  He’s an intriguing fellow.  A cynical veteran who isn’t afraid to do what’s necessary to survive and yet he also displays a touching display of loyalty to his band of reprobates. He’s plagued by memories that eventually help to bring together a portrait of his difficult past and it hasn’t always been pretty and to all extents he’s a man who has given up hope of anything better.  Much more than that though, he’s interesting.  A conflicted character who firmly gets you on his side and during the course of the book will have you glued to the page with his exploits and smiling to yourself at his sarcastic banter.  The supporting cast are also excellent, my favourite being Nenn.

The plot is fast moving and unpredictable.  Every time I made a stab at second guessing the outcome or thinking where the story would go next I was pretty much, on all but one occasion, wrong.  There are battles and fights and plenty of magic and the creativity on display is excellent. I’m not going to elaborate too much, the author has come up with a whole host of evil doers such as Darlings, Brides and, my personal favourite, Gillings that are creepy, nasty or plain revolting. Yes, there is bloodshed but not enough to steal the show and although the battle scenes are brutal they don’t feel too overwhelmingly so.

Finally, I felt the world building was really strong.  I got a good feel for the places involved and the political hierarchy involved. I loved that this has an almost mediaeval feel but one that also feels strangely more advanced with gunfire and lighting provided by energy sourced from one of the moons.  We have Spinners, who seem to be able to work with the energy drawn from the moon and use it more physically and then a lesser version known as Talents who are treated terribly and live their lives like slaves working day in and out drawing threads of power to feed the master weapon.   I look forward to seeing how the world develops in further instalments, maybe travelling further afield and maybe broaching a little more on the history of the Sorcerors and Kings and why they went to war.

All told I have no criticisms to level at Blackwing,  it was a thoroughly engrossing read, I could barely put it down, I loved it and I want more.  I can’t recommend it enough basically.   Do yourself a favour and read it.

I received a copy courtesy of the publisher through Netgalley, for which my thanks. The above is my own opinion.

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