Tag Archives: fantasy

in light of death title

Book Review: In Light Of Death, by D.W. Rigsby

I somehow came into possession of a copy of D.W. Rigsby‘s In Light Of Death in October of 2020 (that’s when it was uploaded to Caliber), most likely through a Bookfunnel promotion (or something similar). But I wouldn’t swear to that, just that I came by it legitimately.
in light of deathSome say the dead don’t talk, but I know better.

My name is Lucius Samuel Stockhelm. I’m an inspectre, a paranormal detective with a ghost sidekick. I work out of my home in New Cross, Ohio. As far as I know, I’m the only non-professional inspectre conducting supernatural investigations. You can find me in the Harken, just ask Toledo the barkeep. Believe it or not, I’m not even sure why I’m doing this kind of work.

Though I have learned a cross is a powerful weapon but anointing oneself while confronting a demon isn’t that easy. Oh, and let’s not forget holy water and salt; the two most used items in my arsenal against the demonic. Yes – these are the tools I’ve been given to defeat the occult.

With being fired from the post office and a decent night’s rest becoming an issue of some importance, I need work, and soon. A distraught call to my neighbor, a professional inspectre, starts this line of dominoes, making me believe things are looking up, but they are about to go from worse to terrible. Someone is leveraging dark supernatural forces to commit a series of horrific murders. Tracking a multi-killer takes me into the dangerous underbelly of New Cross, from shady characters to demons, while I try and defend myself with archaic tools against the unholy of unholys.

In this supernatural mystery series, you’ll find more than ghosts and demons. There’s an array of interesting characters with deceitful behaviors, a plethora of occult activities, with a historical backdrop to boot. Come along and have a look – it’s just what you need to brighten your evening. Turn on your gaslamp, but make sure it’s low so you don’t spook the visitors. Now it’s time to take a peek behind the cover and see what’s on the other side of the mirror.

my review

I have a major gripe and it’s one I’ve ranted on before, because it really does irritate the life out of me. It is my very strong opinion that if I pick up a book that is labeled as book 1, I should be able to read it without confusion. If there is a book before it, even a short one, that needs to be read for it to make sense, then it isn’t book 1, it’s book 2. That prequel (or whatever) is book 1. A book labeled as book 1 is where a reader should be able to pick up without trouble. Can there be prequels? Sure, but they can’t be integral to understanding the events of book 1 and not be counted as such.

I say all that because it’s pertinent to In Light Of Death. I had no idea what was going on for well over half the book. There must have been a lot happen in that 116 page prequel that I didn’t know existed when I picked up book 1. The reader is dropped into In Light of Death, lost and confused. And honestly, even once I piece together what was happening, it still felt like cheese clothe. I felt like my grip on understanding was always tenuous and Rigsby made no effort to firm anything up.

Which is such a shame. Because, there toward the end, I actually came to like Stockhelm and Alarbus. I might have been interested in reading more of their adventures. But as it is, I will not be continuing the series. I just spent too much time uncertain of what was happening and trying to follow characters’ leaps of logic, because (I as a reader) wasn’t given enough information.

Book Review: The Destiny of Ethan King, by Martin Cosgrove

The other day I logged into my Kindle Cloud to send a document I’d uploaded to my device and noticed that one of the Amazon books had an available update. I have enabled auto-updates, but I’ve long known that, for whatever reason, some books don’t and I have to actually push the button. I’ve never figured out what differentiates the books that auto-update from those that don’t, but such is life.

And because I was then thinking about updating books, and knowing that some had been updated and others hadn’t, I was forced to go through and update all books with available updates. (I’m not OCD or anything like, but some things still nag at me, and a task that is partly done is one of them.) The end result was me traveling back in time through my Kindle Cloud, and somewhere along this journey I decided it would be fun to find and read the oldest unread book in my Kindle Cloud.

That turned out to be The Destiny of Ethan King, by Martin Cosgrove, which I apparently purchased (or probably picked up as a freebie) in May of 2012.

Going back in time is a little dangerous, because my reading tastes and pet peeves, etc have changed over time and 9 years is a lot of time for growth and change. I had a huge purge last year and deleted a lot of books I knew I’d simply never read. So, it was safe to assume The Destiny of Ethan King wasn’t one of those. But I still entered into it a little warily.

the destiny of Ethan King

A university professor discovers the notes of a little-known 12th century alchemist detailing the creation of a mystical substance called Universal Matter. This substance is capable of generating unlimited energy and has the power to either end humanity’s greatest problems, or destroy us all. The ancient documents claim that, when the time is right, one human soul will be given the ability to create Universal Matter. His name is Ethan King.

Thrown into a world in which the boundaries between good and evil are blurred, Ethan is left with no choice but to embark on a mystical adventure with potentially global consequences. Complications arise in the form of supernatural abilities, past life flashbacks and personal tragedy.

my review

Ok, I’m gonna be blunt here. I can see what the author was after with this book, but the way it’s written (told, really) bored me to tears. I finished it by force of will alone. I literally read a couple chapters, went off and read a whole other book, came back for a couple more chapters, then read another book, then a few more chapters, and another book, etc. That’s what it took for me to finish. It’s a snooze fest.

The thing is, I really think it’s the writing, not the story itself that’s the problem. Most of the important points, where real character growth or plot progression occurs are told instead of shown (often after the fact). So, you never really feel connected to anything. Further, Cosgrove’s attempts to explain the transcendentalism or whichever metaphysical/esoteric philosophy the characters are utilizing is almost lecture level dull. The fact that the reader needed the lecture to understand shows how poorly it was shown in the writing otherwise.

Perhaps there will be those, new to the ideas presented here perhaps, who will enjoy book. All in all, it’s a failure for me though.


the scouts banner

Book Review: The Scouts, by Kasia Bacon

The Scouts, by Kasia Bacon, was promoed on Sadie’s Spotlight and the author sent me a copy for review.


Lochan and Ervyn—an assassin and a sharpshooter—remain in service to the queen as part of an elite reconnaissance unit.

The Scouts are ghostlike. Elusive. Deadly.

They strike at enemies of the Crown without mercy. They get the job done, leaving no loose ends or witnesses. When Magic Supremacists threaten the safety of Elven Country, they do their duty—whatever it takes.

Lochan and Ervyn belong to each other, but will serving together as comrades-in-arms strengthen their bond as lovers or tear them apart?

The Scouts is the third book in the Order Series. In this volume, Ervyn loses control, Lochan stops fighting his feelings and Verhan… well, remains Verhan.

my review

Oh, I have such a fraught relationship with Bacon’s writing. I love her characters and jovially informal narrative style. But I’m a dedicated binger. Be it reading a novel in a night or watching an entire season of a show on Netflix, I want all of a story. And Bacon’s publications are far closer to a serial than a series, in my estimation, which I find incredibly frustrating.

I say all of that because it would be unfair to judge my review of her works without factoring in this strong preference on my part. But I do still keep coming back, even when I know what to expect. Because these short works are also full of the feels and, as I said, I like the characters and writing style. I’ll add world too. I find the world, with all it’s Elvin races and cultural norms intriguing.

I did find the occasional phrase felt anachronistic and there are quite a lot of characters for such a short book. But those are my only critiques. No doubt, when next Bacon publishes, I’ll be in in line to read it too.