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Book review Book reviews Tuesday Book Blog

#TuesdayBookBlog GOLEM by PD Alleva (@PdallevaAuthor) Horror, myths, and psychological insights #RBRT #horror

Hi all:

I bring you a book for those of you who enjoy horror and are interested in stories based on myths.

Golem by PD Alleva

Golem by PD Alleva

“An extraordinary psychological horror book. Excellently written, with a twisted, spiraling, unexpected end that will leave you speechless.” ~ TBM Horror Experts

Detective. Angel. Victim. Devil.

A haunting tale of suspense, loss, isolation, contempt, and fear.

On November 1, 1951, war hero John Ashton was promoted to detective. His first assignment: find the district attorney’s missing daughter. But his only lead is Alena Francon, a high society sculptor and socialite committed to Bellevue’s psychiatric facility. 

Alena has a story for the new detective. A story so outlandish John Ashton refuses to heed the warning. Alena admits to incarnating Golem, a demonic force, into her statue. A devil so profound he’s infiltrated every part of New York’s infrastructure. Even worse, he uses children to serve as bodily hosts for his demonic army, unleashing a horde of devils into our world. 

When Alena’s confidant, Annette Flemming, confirms the existence of Golem, John is sent on a collision course where fate and destiny spiral into peril, and the future of the human race hangs in the balance. 

The Devil Is In The Details!

Fans of The Silence of the Lambs, Clive Barker, John Connolly, old Stephen King, and Anne Rice will be fascinated by this edge of your seat psychological horror thriller with a story that rips out the heart of humanity and throws it on a slab to be feasted on. 

https://www.amazon.com/Golem-PD-Alleva-ebook/dp/B09CV5823C/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Golem-PD-Alleva-ebook/dp/B09CV5823C/

https://www.amazon.es/Golem-PD-Alleva-ebook/dp/B09CV5823C/

Author PD Alleva

About the author:

PD Alleva writes thrillers. Whether those thrillers are a Sci-Fi Fantasy about Alien Vampires attempting to subjugate the human race, or steeped in a haunting horror novel, or an urban fantasy with supernatural themes, PD always provides readers with a profound, entertaining, and satisfying reader experience, in a new genre he has coined as alternative fiction. His novels blend mystery, conspiracy, psychology, and action with the supernatural, horror, fantasy, and science fiction. Alternative fiction is PD’s attempt at describing what readers uncover in any one of his books, a new discovery towards mainstream storytelling. He’s been writing since childhood, creating and developing stories with brash and impactful concepts he describes are metaphors for the shifting energies that exist in the universe. PD lives inside of his own universe, working diligently on the Sci-Fi/Fantasy series, The Rose Vol. II, the urban fantasy novella series, Girl on a Mission, and Jigglyspot and the Zero Intellect, PD’s upcoming horror thriller.

I’m also sort of a social media enthusiast! You can find me basically everywhere on the net.

Visit my website here: https://pdalleva.com

Join the PD Alleva Reader Group and Book Club: https://www.facebook.com/groups/pdsthrillerreadsandbookclub

Here’s my Instagram where I post pictures of books, current reads, and daily writers life pics:

https://www.instagram.com/pdalleva_author/

My Facebook page is where I’ll post interesting articles on books, reading, movies, and comics:

https://www.facebook.com/pdallevaauthor/

My twitter account is where I post giveaways and promotions: https://twitter.com/PdallevaAuthor

Follow me on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/author/pdalleva

Follow me on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7634126.P_D_Alleva

Follow me on Bookbub here: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/p-d-alleva

https://www.amazon.com/PD-Alleva/e/B073D1TQPP/

My review:

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team (author, check here if you are interested in getting your book reviewed) and thank her and the author for this opportunity.

I had never read any of Alleva’s books before, but I love horror, and I always enjoy reading something a bit different for Christmas, and this novel fitted the bill perfectly.

The description gives a fair idea of what the novel is about, and it is difficult to say more without spoiling the many surprises and scares. The author has managed to combine elements of a variety of myths and legends that have been adapted and used as inspiration for quite a number of stories before. Apart from the Golem of the title (from Jewish folklore), there are also elements of Pygmalion (the Greek original myth), the myth of Pandora’s box, and also elements of occultism and demonology, but without any heavy reliance on standard religious tropes or discourses, especially as pertaining to organised religions. To those who wish to know more, I recommend reading the author’s note at the end, where he explains the genesis of this book, his influences (he does highlight Frankenstein, as well as other classics and more modern horror stories and authors), and also his research and how he incorporated it into the final novel. It provides a good insight into the author’s process of creation, into his thoughts and motivations, and I found it fascinating in its own right.

As is the case with most genres, there are many subgenres and subtypes of horror stories, and some readers prefer some story topics to others, but I must confess to finding novels and movies about demons and evil possession, like The Exorcist and The Omen, among the scariest. I don’t scare easily, but this story manages to tap into the darkness within, psychological issues, post-traumatic stress syndrome, the worst of human weaknesses and vices, corruption at the highest level, and all kinds of crimes, some pretty extreme. This is a book fairly explicit in its use of extreme violence, with detailed descriptions of torture and abuse, with all kinds of victims (including young children), so any readers worried about violence, abuse, or satanic themes, should avoid it. (There are some sex scenes, although these are far less explicit than the descriptions of violence, but no less disturbing in that particular context).

The narrative follows a detective’s investigation, although it is not a typical police procedural, far from it. As tends to happen sometimes, the story ends up investigating the brand-new detective, John Ashton, as much as the case he is involved in. And, although I cannot reveal much, there are plenty of things about him we discover through the book and not all straightforward. We also get to hear about the world of the high society of New York and the Hamptons after WWII and also the events and places of the era, including references to real buildings, to cases of corruption in the city of New York, and to matters such as McCarthyism; we visit a psychiatric unit of the time and learn about some of the treatments in use, and their devastating long-term effects.

The two main characters are John Ashton, a family man (his wife is pregnant when we meet him, and he is happy to have been promoted to detective), who has survived some terrible experiences but is not unscathed. The other main protagonist, Alena, we meet in pretty special circumstances, but we get to hear her story in the first person, as she narrates it to the detective. She is fascinating, and although she appears to be an unreliable narrator to Ashton —as she would to any police officer trying to solve the case— we are aware that there are far too many things that challenge a standard rational explanation. Like John, she has experienced terrible loss, and she is neither all good nor evil. She is a victim of forces she does not understand, but she tries to do the right thing, despite the cost to her health and sanity. There are plenty of other characters as well, and Golem is the most important (and a pretty memorable one as well, with many sides to his personality), but I can’t talk about them without spoiling the story, so you will have to read it if you want to find out more.

The way the story is told is quite interesting, as it is divided into three parts and an epilogue, and there is a character introduced at the very beginning of the story, during Halloween in 1951, that makes brief appearances during the novel, but we don’t get to know how she fits into the story until very close to the end. The device worked well for me, and it kept the intrigue going without slowing down the main narrative. Readers get to meet John Ashton next, and we hear about his experiences and events in the third person, although from his point of view, even down to his dreams and his pretty subjective impressions and intuitions. When he goes to talk to Alena, she gets to narrate her version of the story (written in the third person, although, as is the case with the rest of the novel, from her point of view and with direct access to her own thoughts and feelings), although not at first. She insists she will only talk to Ashton, and he (and the readers) get to hear her pretty incredible story, which requires a large degree of suspension of disbelief, but no more than would be expected from this genre. In fact, there is an interesting way of explaining what is behind the mysterious events and crimes, and not one I was familiar with, although some of the characters that make an appearance are well-known within the subgenre. Readers who worry about head-hopping can be reassured. Although the whole story is narrated in the third person, mostly from one of the main characters’ points of view, it is always clear whose point of view we are following. The story is also mostly told in chronological order (apart from Alena’s narration, which starts in 1947, although towards the end of the book we jump ten years into the future), and the pace quickens at the end, with alternating points of view that announce a pretty dramatic turn of events. (And yes, I can’t tell you anything else).

I have talked about the descriptions of violence and events that go beyond the realm of the rational, and the author does a great job with those, without overdoing the use of bizarre or complex language, but can be typical in novels centred on those subjects, but here the choice of register fits the characters and is functional and not overwrought or heavy. At times I noticed the repetition of certain words, adjectives, and expressions, that became pretty noticeable, to the point of being slightly distracting, but the more I read, the more I wondered if it was a stylistic choice befitting the subject, with its reliance on rituals and ceremonies. It does not detract from the story, the plot, or the characters, which are the most memorable elements of this novel.

Having read all this, I’m sure you won’t expect me to be specific when talking about the ending. Yes, it is very fitting and it works well. Of course, it is not a happy ending (this is horror, after all), but considering how the story goes, I think it reaches a difficult equilibrium. And, as is my preference in this genre, it is not a closed and reassuring ending. Good work.

Would I recommend it? With the caveats mentioned above, I definitely recommend it to readers who enjoy horror and like new takes and twists on ancient myths and stories, and especially those who appreciate novels that dig into the psychological depths of the human mind. As usual, I’d recommend readers to check a sample of the book before deciding if it would suit their taste, and, I leave you with the author’s own nutshell description and reflection on the book, as I think it might help you decide.

Golem is a story about isolation, paranoia, and division, and, as unfortunate as it is, reflects our current society in a nutshell. Who opened the front door and invited the devil in? Well, we all did, didn’t we?

Thanks to the author, to Rosie and the rest of the members of her team for their support, thanks to all of you for reading, for being there, happy new year, and remember to keep safe, to keep reading, and to be happy.

Categories
Book review Book reviews Tuesday Book Blog

#TuesdayBookBlog SURVIVORS’ CLUB by M.K. Martin (@MKMartinWriter) (@NotAPipePub) #RBRT Fun #sci-fi for lovers of action, genetics, and intriguing monsters.

Hi all:

This review, of one of Rosie’s Book Review Team, is a bit frantic, but it was the effect of the book.

Survivors’ Club by M.K. Martin

Survivors’ Club by M. K. Martin

Geneticist Marius Tenartier wants to cure humanity’s worst diseases, but Chrysalis Biopharmaceuticals uses his work to mutate humans into terrifying abominations. With the CEO’s fearless daughter, Marius races to stop the spreading infection before it becomes a global pandemic. The world is on the line, and the clock is ticking.

Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Survivors-Club-M-K-Martin-ebook/dp/B07BJLD4KX/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Survivors-Club-M-K-Martin-ebook/dp/B07BJLD4KX/

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A fun, fast read. …thriller, horror, conspiracy and more all rolled into one.”

Kurt Clopton author of SuperGuy

“A taut bio-thriller with an ensemble of protagonists so lovable you’ll want to take them home … and a threat so dire you’ll have nightmares.”

-Karen Eisenbrey author of Daughter of Magic and The Gospel According to St. Rage

..”.too plausible for comfort, the monsters much too close to home, and the knowledge that we have the technology to unleash such destruction is enough to leave the reader gasping right up to the very end!”

-Mikko Azul author of The Staff of Fire and Bone

“Filled with the shrieks, howls, moans, and wordless mumbles of the Infected, Survivors’ Club uncovers malevolent plans and subversive twists that lead us down a path littered with corpses, staggering toward an approaching doom. Get ready, because once you pick this novel up, you won’t be able to put it down!”

Heather S. Ransom author of Going Green

Author M.K. Martin
Author M.K. Martin

About the author:

M. K. Martin is a motorcycle-riding, linguistics nerd. A former Army
interrogator with a degree in psychology, she uses her unique knowledge and skill set to
create smart, gritty stories that give readers a glimpse into the darker corners of the human
mind.
After getting her feet wet with a couple of short stories, M.K. Martin’s debut novel, “Survivors’ Club” is now available.

https://www.amazon.com/M.-K.-Martin/e/B078FVD7X1/

My review:

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team and thank Rosie Amber (check here if you would like to have your book reviewed) and the author for providing me an ARC copy of this novel, which I freely chose to review.

Let me start by saying that this book is a pretty wild ride. I quote one of the Amazon reviewers (Eric Witchey) because he says it very well and more concisely than I can (as those who read my reviews know all too well): If Andromeda Strain had mutant, undead Cthulhu babies, this would be the offspring. Yes, indeed. Those of you who follow my blog and my reviews probably know I read some science-fiction but I’m not a big authority on it and it is not one of my default genres. But somehow, when I read the description of this book and the biography of the author, I decided to give it a go. I’ve been interested in genetics since long before I decided to study Medicine, and although I pursued a different line of work, I know I’m not alone in following new discoveries and studies on that field. The book also promised plenty of action, and the author’s own military experience and her degree in psychology intrigued me as well.

The story is narrated in third-person from a variety of characters’ points of view, although each chapter is only told from one point of view, so there is no head-hopping or confusion (although due to the frantic pace the story moves at once the infection starts, it’s important to remain attentive). The three main characters are a scientist (a geneticist), Marius, the head of security at Chrysalis Biopharmaceuticals, John Courage (perfect name), and Miranda, the 18-year-old daughter of the company’s CEO (she joins them later in the book, during the first appearance of the monster/infection). Other members of Chrysalis and other settings also play a part and help create a more rounded view of the events and provide an outsider’s evaluation of the characters. Although there are no lengthy disquisitions, navel-gazing, or tons of biographical information, the main characters are fleshed-out, and they have their quirks (Marius is quite nerdy, with a love of British TV series, while Miranda is a credible young girl, at times losing focus of what is at stake to moan about lack of TV, and she can easily be swayed by the winning smile of a charmer, while John is strong and professional but not without his humanities), their strengths and weaknesses.

The voices of the characters are credible and they use the jargon and technical terms appropriate to their jobs and positions, although the alternating points-of-view ensure that we gain the necessary knowledge from other characters who are also novices, and the story is not difficult to follow, without ever falling into dumbing down or easy explanation. There are likeable and less likeable characters and we get to change our minds about some of them as we read, but I think most readers will find somebody to identify with or care about (and a few individuals to hate too, not to mention the monstruous creature, which has more nuances and is far more intriguing than at first might appear).

The first part of the novel is mostly about setting up the characters and introducing the background information (equivalent to world building) necessary to fully appreciate later the scale of the threat and the difficulties in navigating Chrysalis. The company and its labs are set in an isolated location and their procedures and features turn it into a complex and effective setting for the action scenes, as eerie and creepy as the gothic mansions of the classic horror genre.

The writing is nimble, the scientific and the security topics are well-researched, the action scenes very visual and gritty, showing the expertise of the author, the pace increases as the infection/invasion advances; there is gore, the creatures… Well, the Cthulhu mention is quite apt. There is humour and there are lighter moments, although towards the end of the novel there is not much letting off and the rhythm ramps up to a mad crescendo.

There are pop culture references and some themes running through the novel (what happened in Argentina?) that will amuse some readers more than others, but I feel they add to the atmosphere. I particularly enjoyed the mix of danger and humour, the realism and inside knowledge of how the ex-army security personnel worked and their esprit de corps, and the way the three seemingly disparate protagonists come to know and care for each other. Ah, and there is no explicit love story (there are hints at possible loving feelings between some of the characters but, thankfully, no true or fake romance going on. Hooray!).

The is a sample of the catalogue from the publishers, Not a Pipe Publishing (I love Magritte as well), at the very end of the book, so don’t get too comfortable while you read it, as it will end before you expect it, but the blurbs of the novels made me feel very curious and I’ll have to try to explore it further.

Talking about the ending, yes, it ends with a promise of more adventures and a twist that did not surprise me but I found satisfying. (Oh, and I’ve also read that the author is thinking about writing a short story about what happened in Argentina for her subscribers. I think that’s a great idea and something I was thinking of suggesting as well). I wonder if adding a list of abbreviations or technical terms at the end might assist readers in not missing a single detail, but it is not essential.

In sum, a wild ride, with plenty of thrilling action, scarily credible science, likeable and relatable characters, good doses of humour, in a great setting, and with horrifying and intriguing monsters, who are not, by far, as guilty as the corporate greedy industry behind the plot. I recommend it to lovers of adventures set in a scientific/genetic research environment, especially those who like their monsters to go beyond easy scares. An author to keep an eye on.

Thanks to Rosie and the members of her team for their support and hard work, thanks to the author, thanks to all of you for reading and remember to like, share, comment, click, review, and keep smiling! 

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