Reviewing Blood Related, by NZ author William Cook

The details of Caleb’s insane crime spree are conveyed in a (first-person) skin-crawler style which fascinates and repulses, both

I love crime – any media. I’ve been a fan from way W COOK_Blood Related
back  – Hitchcock’s Half-Hour and The Untouchables,
at thirteen. 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…) I 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 King Billy Publications, Wellington, New Zealand

Buy at Amazon.com at http://tinyurl.com/BloodRelatedPromo: Kindle or Paperback editions available

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

Reviewing Blood Related, by NZ author William Cook

If #Blood_Related had been a tv show – I would have had to watch it in daylight. @williamcook666 writes a great horror!

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

The Seer’s Wolf, by Barbara PETRIE

…home-made herbal remedies, magic mushrooms, frustrated yearnings, the mauling of stock, floods and rescues, and shocking disasters…

The Seer’s WolfThe Seers Wolf x PETRIE
by Barbara Petrie

Wow. I’ve never read a young adult book quite like this, but I’m sure there will be readers out there itching for a book which combines human foibles with fantasy.
    The Seer’s Wolf follows two families in a rural Canterbury (NZ) community: the Fairnies, well established as farmers – practical, down-to-earth, sensitive – and the Randals, recent arrivals just emigrated from England, who bring a curious lifestyle to the community, keeping to themselves.  
    Clover Fairnie, the seer of the title, keeps a journal of visions, events and imaginings, and begins noticing more and more of the strange ways of the Randals, her mother, and the young cattle drover. She notices the closeness between Ralph Randal and his eighteen year old daughter Satina, whom he calls Arkie.
    Winding through the simple tale are threads of home-made herbal remedies, magic mushrooms, frustrated yearnings, the mauling of stock, floods and rescues, and shocking disasters. The quick ‘tidy-up’ of the ending seemed to leave something vaguely unresolved, but a thorough reading and retracing characters dismisses that.  
    At the beginning I found Clover’s journal read like something from Enid Blyton, but the author gets a grip on Clover’s voice, her visions come under the author’s control and are more believable.
    Ms Petrie’s ‘Note To The Reader’ is almost a spoiler, coming before the Table of Contents. So skip it – go straight to page 11, the first page of the story itself. 


Title: The Seer’s Wolf
Author: Barbara Petrie
Publisher: Bridgidada Press
ISBN: 978-0-473-318154 paperback
Available:
as either a pbk or e-book through the publisher’s website: www.bridgidada.nz;
or from Scorpio Books, Christchurch; PaperPlus, Rangiora; Take Note Kaiapoi; and bookshops New Zealand-wide by request. 

Adam Millard’s 10 Favourite Authors in his teen years

Author of Soul Of Dust, Adam was kind enoughMILLARD_Soul of Dust
to reveal his reading preferences when younger

As a young man I read everything I could get my grubby little hands on, from horror to fantasy, sci-fi to westerns. It’s tough to compile a list like this, but I’ll give it a shot. In no particular order, here are the ten authors who kept me company at that most awkward moment in one’s life: the teenage years.

Stephen King
He’s the master of horror for a reason, and when I first read The Stand and IT at the grand old age of thirteen, I was immediately hooked. To this day I anticipate every new release.

Shaun Hutson
Growing up, I loved Shaun Hutson, and not just because he was an ardent Liverpool fan. Hutson’s books, filled with explicit sex and violence, were perfect for me in those formative years.

Richard Laymon
Another author whose work I ploughed through in my teens, Laymon had a way of getting under your skin, or mine, at least. Some of his stuff doesn’t hold up today the way it did back then, but he got me through some tough times.

Terry Pratchett
A slight departure from horror now, but Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels were like sugar to me. I couldn’t get enough of them, and that continued right through to his sad death earlier this year.

James Herbert
Rats was the first Herbert book I took out from the library, and it wasn’t the last. His style was magnificent. I would have read a shopping list if it had come from the pen of James Herbert.

Guy N. Smith
This list would be incomplete without a mention of the Crabmaster himself. Guy N. Smith’s short and pulpy novels were fascinating to me during my teenage years. I still own a lot of Smith’s paperbacks, which I dip into from time to time.

Ramsey Campbell
I picked up The Doll Who Ate His Mother at a car boot sale back in 1993, and I’ve never looked back. Ramsey Campbell is a hero of mine.

Stephen Gallagher
Another fantastic British writer, Gallagher’s work played a huge part in my youth. People like this are the reason I am a writer today (sorry Stephen. It’s not your fault, really).

Clive Barker
What needs to be said about Clive Barker that hasn’t already been said? A genius of all mediums, his Books of Blood, Cabal, and The Hellbound Heart warranted repeat readings for me back in the 90s.

 Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
If you haven’t read the Count of Saint-Germain novels (of which I believe there are now twenty-eight), you’re missing out on some amazing work. Yarbro was a huge inspiration to me in my teens.”

 

ADAM MILLARD

 

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.
Has this review helped you decide to purchase? Then please give it a Rating
You can also Share it on the online channel of your choice.
To comment if you are the first: click on the “No comments” hot spot, and the comment window will open. Tell us all about what You thought of the book as a read, or of Leaton as a writer in this novel.
Thank you and have a Happy New Year
– Lynne. –

New Zealand’s Lost Heritage, by Richard WOLFE


NZs Lost HeritageRichard WOLFE’s  New Zealand’s Lost Heritage, published by New Holland Publishers (November 2013), is a fascinating collection of landmarks and buildings we have let slip through our fingers via natural forces, commercial greed or communal apathy.
Wolfe devotes a chapter to each of his selected twenty examples of heritage buildings, their construction, redevelopment, community significance, illustrated with water-colour paintings for earlier days and later, photographs, and interesting -some, even amusing- extracts from reported news stories written in period.
Some landmarks I had never before heard of, some I have never seen, but each story brings the landmark to life in interesting ways.
The opening chapter devoted to Ruapekapeka fortified pa was an eye opener. The description of the wiliness which went into its construction by the Maori, under chief Kawiti, and aided by sketches drawn at the time by British soldiers, revealed a natural talent for shelter and protection from the bomb-blasts and cannon fire. (I found it spoiled somewhat by the lack of publisher’s or printer’s application of macrons where appropriate for te rēo Māori.)
Another favourite chapter is that devoted to Edmonds Sure To Rise factory in Christchurch. Wolfe tells of T L Edmonds earlier industry and how it led to his specialization in that pantry staple of the New Zealand housewife and baker. Interestingly I learned of two Edmonds’ products of which I’d not before known. (I was disappointed Wolfe gave no mention of the Edmonds Cake Baking Powder – essential for the home baker without access to eggs, and available up to the very early 1980s, but no mind.) To learn that Edmonds parkland and gardens are being cherished by Christchurch still is a pleasing concept.
Other landmarks include Auckland’s His Majesty’s Theatre and Arcade, the Victoria Arcade, the Partington Mill, Hiona (at Maungapohatu), Rangatea (at Otaki), and the Lyttleton Timeball Station (my restorative instinct cries out for this to be reconstructed!).
Wolfe’s style is that of a friendly conversationalist, helpfully filling in our blanks of what should be common or general knowledge of our heritage. 
Its Index is comprehensive and helpful, References for each chapter provide those interested with a trail to follow to further information or to confirm Wolfe’s sources, and Picture Credits complement the references section.
It is a pity it is marred by a (very) few typographical or editorial errors. (But the publishers have already been in touch with me to ask about the errors, so future editions will be error free – a quick and heartening response.)
ISBN 978-1-86996-387-2 hard cover bound.
New Holland Publishers (NZ) Ltd, Auckland.
Available at Booksellers NZ outlets. 

 

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TAKA KIRO WAI –He Kōrero Pūrākau mo Tētāhi Hoiho by Keri KAA


TAKA KIRO WAI –
He Kōrero Pūrākau mo Tētāhi Hoiho

Author Keri KAA

Artist Martin D PAGE
 
This Māori language, 59 page picture book is an amazing compilation of story, artwork and photography, decorated and enhanced with examples of Māori weaving and carving patterns.
Publisher Tania was kind enough to relate the story to me in English (I am not bilingual) which I can summarise for you. As a Māori reader, you will get more out of the book than I can, so bear with me.
It is the true story of a rural home, surrounded by farmland, in the area of Ngati Porou, on which after an extremely rainy stormy night, the woman of the house looking out her window realises her mare is in difficulties. On closer investigation, she sees the mare has foaled overnight. The foal is still trapped in the birth sac, and in such deep water the mare cannot assist it to break free.
Friends come to help; they drag the foal onto higher ground, wrap it in a blanket with the hopes of saving the exhausted foal, who is very cold after being submerged in water. The mare is incapable of anything, so exhausted is she after birthing in the night and struggling in the flooded paddock. 
The mare has shared her paddock with a pig, and is used to its smell. The pig comes to the foal, and tears open the birth sac. It licks then rubs against the foal, for so long it tires and drops to rest in exhaustion. It returns to the foal and now starts treading with its forelegs on its back, until finally the foal comes alive. The mare returns, and coaxes the foal to stand and feed.
This book is a strong mixture of the expertise of the story teller and of the illustrator. Every page has its own significance to te tikanga Māori, to rural communities, and to – especially – spell-bound children.
The publishers have assured me there is a solid intention to produce an English language version in the future. I will happily announce that here when it happens.

Translations of the front cover (thanks to publisher Tania)…
Main Title – Taka Kiro Wai = Fell in the water
Sub-title – He Kōrero Pūrākau mo Tētāhi Hoiho = A story about a horse

(Yellow circle sub-subtitle – He Kōrero Pūrākau Tūturu Tēnei = This is a true story

ISBN  978-0-473-18406-3 paperback
Publication 2013 by Tania&Martin, Rotorua NZ.
Book is to be launched 22nd November,
and can be purchased via 
www.taniaandmartin.com/shop

Illustrations here are photographs I took of the review copy I read,
and in no way do justice to the book’s Real art.

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