Tag Archives: Paranormal

The Scarlet Coven

22 Mar

“The Scarlet Coven” is a new novel by acclaimed Holmesian David Stuart Davies, published by independent publishing company Urbane Publications.

Simon Finch is a retired police officer in New York in 1936. His wife Laura is an artist. When Carleton Ross approaches them at the Alonquin about his missing sister, they get drawn into a macabre and terrifying affair.

Think Dashiell Hammett meets Dennis Wheatley. The only thing missing is Wheatley’s usual priest with an entire baggage carousel of angst.

Simon and Laura are Nick and Nora Charles with added sass. Actually, when I think about it, they lean a little more towards Neil Simon’s Dick and Dora Charleston from “Murder by Death”. Because I admit that I visualized them as David Niven and Maggie Smith!

The plot has all the delicious absurdities that Dennis Wheatley espoused, complete with scary Satanists with an agenda.

I’d categorize the book as Paranormal Noir.  Make of that what you will.

Loved it.

Can we have more Simon and Laura, please?

The Rhesus Chart

10 Mar

Bob Howard works for The Laundry, a secret department of the British Government.  They are, basically, an occult version of MI5.

No-one believes in vampires, so when a nest of vampires appears in Canary Wharf, all hell breaks loose for Bob and his comrades.  As the body count rises, Bob and the boys may have met their match.

“The Rhesus Chart”, by Charles Stross, rips along nicely.  An excellent story.  A spy thriller with lashings of Lovecraft and humongous helpings of humour.

The characters are well rounded and interesting.  I am particular fond of the Vicar, Peter.  I do hope he makes a return appearance.

The only thing I found a little heavy going was the jargon.  It did detract a little bit from my enjoyment.  However, the committee names and the acronyms, WOMBAT (Waste Of Money, Brains, And Time) was my personal favourite.  This one will be finding its way into my regular conversation, you can count on it.

“The Rhesus Chart” is part of a series, and I am now going to get the others to read.  You can’t get higher praise than that.

Highly recommended.

Great Australian Ghost Stories

30 Jun

Excellent book of Australian ghost stories, written by Richard Davis and published by ABC books.  Some of the stories are rather sweet, and others are downright bloody terrifying!

Where possible the writer has researched the background thoroughly, and several well known ghost stories are pretty much proved to be that, just stories.  On the other hand, others are not so easily explained.

The story of a Sydney medical student’s possessed laptop was particularly horrifying.  I actually had real difficulty settling down to sleep after reading it.

It was also scary, but not really a surprise, to discover there is a genuine haunted house only a couple of blocks from where I live.  The writer gave the street but not the number, but he didn’t need too.  I knew EXACTLY which house it is.  I’ve loathed going near the place since I shifted into the area.  It always makes me uneasy and uncomfortable.

Well written, and well leavened with humour, I cannot recommend this book to highly to those with an interest in this subject.

Might be a little hard to get for non-Australian readers, but for Aussies, Dymocks is currently selling it cheap, which is where I picked up my copy at the weekend.

Mayhem

16 Nov

“Mayhem” by Sarah Pinborough is a novel that  looks at a little known series of crimes that were being committed in London at the same time as the Ripper murders.  The Thames Torso Murders.

The book starts with the remains of a woman being discovered where Scotland Yard is being built (this really did happen).

At first, the book appears to be a normal crime novel…then things take a twist into the dark and paranormal.

The main character is Dr Thomas Bond, who was a real person.  Considered by many to be the first criminal profiler.  He created the first profile of Jack the Ripper.  He was Police Surgeon for A Division (Westminster) under whose purvey the Thames Torso Killings fell.

Much of what happens in the book, with the exception of the horror elements of the story, did actually occur.  Dr Bond’s autopsy of Mary Jane Kelly is quoted, and his profile of the Ripper is quoted in full in the novel.

Several other characters will be recognizable to those interested in the crimes of Jack the Ripper.

This is, if you’ll excuse the pun, a ripper of a novel.  Fast paced, exciting, with an escalating sense of horror that has you on the edge of your seat.

Ms Pinborough has a dark sense of humour which helps take the edge off the fear factor:

“Found dead.  A verdict as useful as a fucking bible in a Bluegate brothel.”

“Of course she was bloody found dead.” Moore grumbled.  “Some bastard cut off her head and her limbs.  If she’d been found alive I would have been more than bloody surprised.”

I am eagerly awaiting her second book in the series “Murder” which is due for release next year.

Note: Apparently the back of the book was incorrect.  “Murder” was released earlier this year.  Am now awaiting my copy from the library.

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