Tag Archives: historical

in light of death

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.

in light of death dw rigsby

slippery creatures

Book Review: Slippery Creatures (The Will Darling Adventures #1), by K.J. Charles

I received an ARC of K.J. CharlesSlippery Creatures from the author. I don’t accept a lot of books for review anymore. I simply have too many already. But Charles is one of my favorite authors, so of course, I sought this one out. But with all the shuffling of books and such between the old computer and the new, this almost got lost. That would have been a shame and embarrassing.

Description from Goodreads:

Will Darling came back from the Great War with a few scars, a lot of medals, and no idea what to do next. Inheriting his uncle’s chaotic second-hand bookshop is a blessing…until strange visitors start making threats. First a criminal gang, then the War Office, both telling Will to give them the information they want, or else.

Will has no idea what that information is, and nobody to turn to, until Kim Secretan—charming, cultured, oddly attractive—steps in to offer help. As Kim and Will try to find answers and outrun trouble, mutual desire grows along with the danger.

And then Will discovers the truth about Kim. His identity, his past, his real intentions. Enraged and betrayed, Will never wants to see him again.

But Will possesses knowledge that could cost thousands of lives. Enemies are closing in on him from all sides—and Kim is the only man who can help.

Review:

I generally really enjoyed this. I adored Will and Kim, though I don’t felt I knew Kim as well as Will since he wasn’t a POV character. I wondered how the situation would be resolved until the end. The writing was marvelous as always and I look forward to more.

I only have one BIG complaint that keeps this from being rated higher for me. (Sorry this will be vague to avoid too many spoilers.) The synopsis refers to betrayal and I don’t think many will be surprised by it. But afterward, there came a point that Will made a decision I couldn’t accept. It’s not that I didn’t see how he might do it, certainly, Charles painted him into a corner and I could imagine a man doing what he did. But as a reader, I was still angry and didn’t want him to. What’s more, given his and Kim’s last conversation, I wouldn’t have expected a warm human welcome, but a professional one. So, the decision Will made and the action he took (while instrumental to move the plot along) didn’t feel right to me.

All in all, however, I loved this.

The Black Garden

Book Review of The Black Garden, by John S. McFarland

I bought a paperback copy of John S. McFarland’s The Black Garden. He’s a Saint Louis author and I try to support them whenever I can, with a review if nothing else.

Description from Goodreads:

The year is 1882, and Perdita Badon-Reed, a sheltered Boston esthete, has just made the most momentous decision of her life. Having spurned a respectable suitor, she finds herself on a riverboat on the Mississippi River, steaming toward the strange French Colonial village of Ste. Odile to accept a teaching position at a girls’ academy and pursue her dream of becoming a stone sculptor. Of the many hardships that await her, the one she least expects looms in the form of Orien Bastide, an incubus who has conducted his seductive and parasitic existence for two millennia. Perdita soon realizes the full horror of Bastide’s intentions, and that she alone has the will to stop him. In order to defeat the treacherous Bastide and save future generations from his advances, Perdita must abandon her personal ambitions and, perhaps, her life.

Review:

Sooo, this is a book I’ve now read. I’ve finished it and that’s kind of the only feeling I have about it. It’s 470 pages long. The protagonist doesn’t meet the antagonist until ~page 300, doesn’t understand his nature until about page 400 and ALL of the action happens in the last few pages (and ends in tragedy) The writing is actually lovely, but there really needs to be a lot less of it. The book is too long by half. 

Beyond that, my only real complaint is how well-spoken EVERYONE is and how absurdly perfect Perdita is. At one point the antagonist says of/to her, “Hardly a new month arrives without some report of your exploits, of your compassion, heroism, even.” And it’s true. She’s far too perfect, even performing a rudimentary tracheostomy with a spinning bobbin at one point!

I won’t call this a bad book, and I’m glad to have read a local author’s book, but I’m kind of glad to be done with it. On a side note: despite the cover, this is gothic horror, not romance of any sort.