Hounds of the Underworld, by RABARTS & MURRAY

cover_Hounds of the UnderworldI feel as if Dan or Lee, or both, wrote to the background of AC/DC’s If you want Blood, You’ve got it. Because blood is what links together the best of the worst events in this New Zealand futuristic gripper. Matiu – a “sidekick” to his sister Pandora, is haunted by a spirit being of whom, after his years of therapy, he thought he had gained control. Until he touched a bowl.
A simple bowl, but it draws blackness into him, and he sticks to Pandora’s side throughout her work – unofficially – on a police murder case.
Which evolves into a multiple crime. Penny (Pandora) finds herself in situations a simple lab technician should not need to be in; but she too is gripped by the need for resolution – and by worry over Matiu’s changed state.

Rabarts and Murray have solid research behind the story, set in the 2020s, a future in which is revealed a most plausible system of agricultural production and city life. All the more awful is the juxtaposition of the past spiritual elements against daily life, which chill your bones. You’ll find yourself underlining, highlighting, re-reading…just because you want to.

Here’s one of many passages I loved…underlining mine…


Penny can’t understand why her parents insist on treating her like a twelve year-old. She’d called for a driver, not a damned babysitter. The last thing she needs is Matiu tagging along like a piece of soggy toilet paper stuck to her shoe. She clamps her lips shut and glances back. And just look at him: head down, shoulders slumped, hands stuffed in the pockets of his leather jacket. He’s the one behaving like a sulky teen. Why does he have to go talking to himself when they’re out in public, anyway? Mumbling under his breath to his imaginary friend… She steps through the doorway, noting its splintered frame, and is confronted by a human wookie. Two metres plus, with oversized hands, and long overdue for a haircut.

“Who the fuck are you?” it bellows.

Penny jumps, startled. “I was called…”

Get a grip, Penny. You’re not here to audition for Miss Muffet. You have a right to be here…

“You the lab girl? The one that Noah Cordell recommended? Pandora somebody? Cordell swore you were reliable; I expected you half an hour ago.”

Penny tries not to bristle at the slight. After all, this is work. And apart from a few tests—some simple DNA analyses to resolve a private paternity suit and routine monitoring of the blooms stinking up the city’s beaches—there hasn’t been much cause to turn on the fumehood since she left LysisCo. She squares her shoulders, extends her hand.

Suck it up, girl.


The tone is light, especially that first paragraph I’ve dropped in here. Imagery via words – as underlined – is the strength of their writing. Maybe I could have picked something more thrilling…but not all would be able to not squirm.
Note: expect a distance interview to be posted soon.
Māori language (phrases or words) are used, and a glossary of translations aids the non-kiwi reader.

Publishing details?

Hounds of the Underworld © 2017 by Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray
Publisher Raw-Dogs-Screamingof Bowie, MD
First Edition; Printed in the United States of America
Cover Image: Daniele Serra; Book Design: Jennifer Barnes
ISBN: 978-1-935738-96-1

Buy at  Amazon
Read more about Dan and Lee at Red Dog Screaming


More about the Hounds of the Underworld:

 

On the verge of losing her laboratory, her savings, and all respect for herself, Pandora (Penny) Yee lands her first contract as scientific consult to the police department. And with seventeen murder cases on the go, the surly inspector is happy to leave her to it. Only she’s going to need to get around, and that means her slightly unhinged adopted brother, Matiu, will be doing the driving. But something about the case spooks Matiu, something other than the lack of a body in the congealing pool of blood in the locked room or that odd little bowl.

Matiu doesn’t like anything about this case, from the voices that screamed at him when he touched that bowl, to the way his hateful imaginary friend Makere has come back to torment him, to the fact that the victim seems to be tied up with a man from Matiu’s past, a man who takes pleasure in watching dogs tear each other to pieces for profit and entertainment.

Hounds of the Underworld blends mystery, near-future noir and horror. Set in New Zealand it’s the product of a collaboration by two Kiwi authors, one with Chinese heritage and the other Māori. This debut book in The Path of Ra series offers compelling new voices and an exotic perspective on the detective drama.

Kill the Next One, by Federico Axat

AXAT_Kill The Next OneWhen I began reading, I was hooked…especially at the double-back. As Ted battles with the enormity of what he has done, and what he may do, I became increasingly meshed with the multitude of dilemmas in which he found himself.

My head spun with the merry-go-round of events as his life unfolds after attempting suicide. What was going to happen next, for crying out loud? The puzzle was so enigmatic, I had to keep reading as events unfolded.

The more Ted learned, the more intricate the tale…fascinating. His fouled relationship with his wife and daughters, his enmeshment in so many complications, the discoveries we find… all gripped me. Definitely a one-sitting read!

An unusual tale, told in a series of twists…which I’m afraid seemed (to me) to wrap up too suddenly, leaving something indeterminate unsaid. The final chapter seemed a bit of a let-down, but the fact remains, I’ve read no crime novel like this before, and I want more from AXAT!

The Blurb: An audacious psychological thriller where nothing is what it seems. Ted McKay had it all: a beautiful wife, two daughters, a high-paying job. But after being diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour he finds himself with a gun to his temple, ready to pull the trigger. Then the doorbell rings. A stranger makes him a proposition: why not kill two deserving men before dying? The first target is a criminal, and the second is a man with terminal cancer who, like Ted, wants to die. After executing these kills, Ted will become someone else’s next target, like a kind of suicidal daisy chain. Ted understands the stranger’s logic: it’s easier for a victim’s family to deal with a murder than with a suicide. However, after killing his targets, Ted’s reality begins to unravel. Kill The Next One, an immersive psychological thriller from an exciting new voice.

Publisher: The Text Publishing, Australia  2016
Originally published as La ultima salida (The Last Way Out)2016
Translation © Hachette Book Group Ltd with permission
of Little, Brown and Company, NY

ISBN:
Print: 9781925355871
Ebook: 9781925410259

Other AXAT titles:

  • The Meadow of the Butterflies
  • El aula 19/Classroom 19 (Digital edition)
  • Benjamin

More titles listed at Federico’s site (behind the portrait) Federico AXAT

Federico is also found here…
Twitter: @FedericoAxat, and FaceBook:

Reviewing Blood Related, by NZ author William Cook

I love crime – in any media. I’ve been a fan from way back – Hitchcock’s Half-Hour and The Untouchables. Most current crime shows I watch “live” – but Silent Witness I have to record and watch in daylight. It’s too good a show to not watch at all – no matter how creeped out I get.

Most crime novels (thrillers, chillers, serial killers…) W COOK_Blood RelatedI can read at any time. But if Blood Related had been a TV show – I would have had to watch it in daylight. A delightfully chilling sense of unease throughout the tale of Caleb Cunningham, psycho-killer, as he turns slaughter into an art form – ‘installations’ – hidden from discovery under the city. The sewers and drains are his alleys and pavements.

Gut-wrenching reveals – his twin brother a killer too, both moulded as such by their father, another serial killer, and their mother an insane alcoholic. Bodies secreted everywhere, even in the much modified basement of the family town house. His grandfather was a killer, his handiwork scattered in the grounds of a country farm.

Only homicide Detective Ray Truman senses connections and pursues the multitude case files as he works on the puzzle of three generations of serial killers. He comes too close to ending Caleb’s continued criminal future.

So, those are the facts of who’s in the tale, but no spoilers. Some reviewers will give you more but  I’d like you to follow the horror in Cook’s pages.

You still have a lot of fine reading to do. Cook’s style is unique – part narrative, part reportive – and the details of Caleb’s insane crime spree are conveyed in a (first-person) skin-crawler style which fascinates and repulses, both. This will not be my first, or only, William Cook thriller!

Published 2015 (3rd edition)
Billy King Publications NZ   King Billy Publications, Wellington, New Zealand

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Read about more of William’s work at his site: http://williamcookwriter.com

Close Your Eyes, by Michael ROBOTHAM

Publisher:

Close Your Eyes NZ cover“My father said nothing, not that first day or the next day or any of the subsequent ones. Instead he sat in his armchair, mouthing words as though conducting some unfinished argument. One day I asked him if Mum was in Heaven.

‘No.”

‘Where is she?’

‘Rotting in Hell.’

‘But Hell is for bad people.’

‘It’s what she deserves.’

Joe O’Loughlin from Watching You ( Australia’s No. 1 crime & thriller book of 2013) features again in this worrying tale of multiple murders, multiple suspects, and families in anguish.

Clinical psychologist Professor Joseph O’Loughlan tells the story, starting in the grounds of Oxford, as his daughter is checking out the colleges. Just as his wife invites him to move back home, their conversation is interrupted by a phone call from Chief Superintendent Veronica Cray.

And thus he returns to the force as a consultant, arriving at the scene of the crime–the first crime in the tale, with  two victims: a mother and her daughter. The bodies show differences in the killer’s intent: the mother has been butchered, the daughter suffocated. The mother’s body is centred in a display of occult symbolism and her own blood spatter, the daughter has been neatly laid out in a peaceful pose.

The struggle to draw together a picture of the perpetrator’s profile and motive begins.  Further murders arise, and old cases become linked to the current investigation. Joe’s daughters are innocently drawn into the picture. As the investigations continue, Joe is torn between withdrawing from it and staying in the world of his family, and yet also feeling driven to resolve the questions which come to light as each piece of action and evidence enters the pursuit of the killer.

It is a jig-saw puzzle of hints, suggestions, reader’s “Aha!” moments–which may (only may) cause the reader to see ahead. This reviewer enjoyed the puzzle immensely.

SPERE_hachette au sphere imprintvia      Hatchette NZ logo

Date: August 2015
ISBN: Hardback: 978-0-7515-5287-4 Paperback: 978-0-7515-5288-1

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Locate your Booksellers NZ outlet here

VIVIENNES BLOG, by NZ author Stephen LEATON (release mid-January ’15)

eb83c-vivienneVIVIENNE’S  BLOG

Author Stephen K. LEATON
It was a lot easier to read and enjoy Vivienne’s Blog than it has been to write this review. Not wanting to sell it short, I actually spent time refining my understanding of the genres mentioned among the publisher’s material: thriller, chilling suspense, fantastical, psychological thriller, or mystery.
The book’s designer has helped us readers by using alternate fonts, to show Vivienne’s internal thoughts as distinct from her blog entries, or her letters to her ex-husband, to whom her blog is directed.
One of the fascinations is – what is she remembering as real, and what is a fantasy, a psychotic memory, a deranged version of history and truth? As she seeks to both preserve her “Faerie” bloodline and to “punish” her ex-husband and his second wife, we are swept into the maelstrom of her mind – and the suspense is very, very real. Is the baby safe with her? Will she be captured before any danger comes to her or the child?
She is not unintelligent – she reads body language expertly. She plans. She is never taken by surprise, but can make mistakes. At times expressing herself lucidly, yet at times rambling and erratic, we are “in the air” – puzzled as we wonder – what is real and what is Vivienne’s reality?
And as the story and her life ends – Leaton drops us a chilling bombshell.
(Move along…no spoilers here)

Publisher: EUNOIA Publishing Ltd

Date Available: 2015 (mid-January)
ISBN: 978-0-9941047-9-3 Paperback, perfect bound
ISBN: 978-0-9941047-1-7 Leather cover, stitched, ribbon tied, illustrated.
Also will be available in Kindle.
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R.R.P $NZ 34.99 p’back; $NZ 45.00 deluxe edition;
RRPs will vary according to medium, sales channel and purchasing nation.
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Thank you and have a Happy New Year
– Lynne. –