This blog is a tribute to female authors in the dark thriller genre, whom I’ve appreciated more and more in the past few years. There are many good ones, and I’ve been going through their books like they are a giant bag of Twizzlers. I just can’t stop.
One of my best discoveries is bestselling British author Rachel Abbot. She writes psychological thrillers, most of which are set in Manchester, England, close to where the author grew up.
According to her bio, “After being turned down by several literary agents and publishers, she decided to brave it alone and go into self-publishing.” I’m so glad she did because her success story encourages us writers and thrills her readers and fans, including me!
Her books are suspenseful, page-turners I can’t put down even when dinner’s calling! They are the type of books you can lie with for hours, snug under the covers on a wintry Saturday morning, or what have you. There are good characters to root for, especially detective Tom Douglas and Becky, his partner. Ms. Abbott’s books are well-written with believable dialogue and good pacing. I enjoy the plots and how they unfold. Just as I think I have it figured out, there are brilliant twists. Her books are addictive. I’ve read them all, and I’m waiting for more.
We hear a lot these days about your “happy place” and “living your best life.”
Your best life may be nonstop traveling or vacationing in a tropical paradise. Many are content going through the years with their extended, continually growing family, enjoying all the milestones and get-togethers. For some, it’s tending to their garden or going on a cruise, maybe taking photographs of nature. It may simply be achieving your professional goals, especially a long, fulfilling career helping others.
Ten years ago, when both of my parents were ill at the same time, I had panic attacks—even in my chiropractor’s tranquil office while listening to her soothing music. She was a gentle soul with an ethereal beauty about her, and she told me, “Don’t think about it. Just go to your happy place. Visualize it. Focus on it.”
For a lot of people, that happy place is a sun-filled or moonlit beach. Some find immediate comfort thinking about God or Jesus or prayers while surrounded by nature. I pictured a magical place with flowers, trees, birds, and a glistening lake. Taking out a rowboat was a nice thought, too.
Of course, we can have many happy places. I picture people—ones who make me smile and laugh a lot. Then there’s reading books, watching dancers, hearing people sing or play music. I love all of that.
Now, what about that timeworn phrase “happily ever after?” Is it what fairytales have dictated, something we’ve held onto since we were children? There’s a bit of societal pressure, whether it’s your dream or not, but I think most people do genuinely want to find their ideal partner and live a comfortable life with a house, pets, and children.
As I see it, the problem is what others expect of us and what we expect of ourselves. I’ve encountered many people who automatically assume everyone wants what they have. Have you met anyone like that? At best, they feel sad for you. At worse, someone thinks you want to take what they have away from them. Sure, that happens in some instances, but, more often, we’re not reading each other or reading the room, as they say.
I learned, long ago, that I don’t want what most people want, plain and simple and don’t necessarily like what most people like. I never felt the need to run out and get the latest thing because everyone else had it. I got it when and if I needed it. I’ll say, too, another of my happiest places is writing. Any artist might understand that, but a great many others may think that’s just pathetic!
What’s evident to me is, people often envy a life they don’t even want. They may see themselves as failures. It often happens that they didn’t succeed in creating that life because they never really wanted it in the first place. If so, they might have tried harder to get it. They think they should have gotten it, and that maybe something’s wrong with them. Or course, they worry, too, about what others may think.
Well, I agree with those who say, “You do you.” The truth is, it is 100% okay for people to want everyday, traditional things or to want something else entirely. That’s hard for a lot of people, I know. They want to fit in. Me? I only want to fit where I belong—where I’m welcome, accepted, and embraced as who I am.
Thus reads the message received from a Nazi commander stationed in a small castle high in the remote Transylvanian Alps. Invisible and silent, the enemy selects one victim per night, leaving the bloodless and mutilated corpses behind to terrify its future victims.
When an elite SS extermination squad is dispatched to solve the problem, the men find something that’s both powerful and terrifying. Panicked, the Nazis bring in a local expert on folklore–who just happens to be Jewish–to shed some light on the mysterious happenings. And unbeknownst to anyone, there is another visitor on his way–a man who awoke from a nightmare and immediately set out to meet his destiny.
The battle has begun: On one side, the ultimate evil created by man, and on the other…the unthinkable, unstoppable, unknowing terror that man has inevitably awakened.
The Keep by F. Paul Wilson is a supernatural thriller set at the beginning of WW II. The story is rich in history and has many elements I love—Gothic horror, immortal creatures, Romania, a creepy fortress, revenge on nazis, and a worthy nemesis in Rasalom. The book is brilliantly atmospheric.
Wilson’s descriptions are lovely. It’s a fast-paced tale with a great twist, never dull, and it has characters I loved, which is always a plus. In my opinion, it’s a fun but not a terribly scary read, but, then again, I don’t scare easily.
The best part is, I’ve found a new favorite writer in F. Paul Wison and feel as if I should have known about him long ago!
Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin and As So It Begins by Rachel Abbott are two books that provided the page-turning suspense that kept me reading but still managed to leave me disappointed.
The main reason is I need characters I can like and root for throughout the book. Please give me one, at least.
It’s particularly distressing when I think there’s one, but it turns out in the end that they all suck.
My reviews for these will be short.
Detective John Rebus: His city is being terrorized by a baffling series of murders…and he’s tied to a maniac by an invisible knot of blood. Once John Rebus served in Britain’s elite SAS. Now he’s an Edinburgh cop who hides from his memories, misses promotions and ignores a series of crank letters. But as the ghoulish killings mount and the tabloid headlines scream, Rebus cannot stop the feverish shrieks from within his own mind. Because he isn’t just one cop trying to catch a killer, he’s the man who’s got all the pieces to the puzzle…
Knots and Crosses introduces a gifted mystery novelist, a fascinating locale and the most compellingly complex detective hero at work today.
My review: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
I know Ian Rankin is good. So many people recommend his work. I also know Knots and Crosses was not the best example of why he is popular.
The main character in Knots and Crosses , Detective John Rebus, does not seem to do much of anything but drink and get laid. He didn’t solve any crimes, let alone the main one. There was nothing to like about him and plenty to not like. Oh, there is sufficient reason to feel sorry for him. I felt sorry for the victims, too, and, of course, I rooted for the ones still alive, but it’s not as if you get to know them. I liked the book, sure. I just needed more.
Mark and Evie had a whirlwind romance. Evie brought Mark back to life after the sudden death of his first wife. Cleo, Mark’s sister, knows she should be happy for him. But Cleo doesn’t trust Evie…
When Evie starts having accidents at home, her friends grow concerned. Could Mark be causing her injuries? Called out to their cliff-top house one night, Sergeant Stephanie King finds two bodies entangled on blood-drenched sheets.
Where does murder begin? When the knife is raised to strike, or before, at the first thought of violence? As Evie stands trial, the jury is forced to consider – is there ever a proper defence for murder?
And So It Begins is a darkly compulsive psychological thriller with all the hallmarks of a Rachel Abbott bestseller – a provocative dilemma, richly-layered mystery, knife-edge tension, and brilliant characterization.
My review: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
This book I liked a lot. Rachel Abbott is a wonderful storyteller, and As So It Begins is a well-written page-turner. I hated the twist and the ending for personal reasons, but I can’t get into that without spoilers.
What I can say is, the detective here, Stephanie King, is nowhere near as interesting as the people involved in the mystery that unfolds. (This is her series, and she is the star, but you’d never know it.) She turns up now and then and mostly worries about her love life. I feel like the whole story could have happened without her minimal involvement. A couple of minor characters impressed me, but, as I mentioned above, I want to root for at least one of the main characters.
As an aside, I’m reading another of Rachel Abbott’s books right now called The Invitation, and I love it, but now that I’m many chapters deep into the book, Detective Stephanie King emerges once again.
Hopefully, she makes a better impression here than in the last book.
Everyone is in the grip of someone or something – besotted with or controlled by another person or captive of passions, ambitions, torments, or demons. . . . Mordecai Bornstein enjoys a successful scientific editing and writing career. He has a comfortable existence. He’s found passion with the woman he worships – Patricia Murphy, an alluring and ambitious museum director. But nothing good lasts forever, and Mordecai stumbles into a way to inject torment into his life. Years later, after that life has been turned upside-down, Mordecai is drawn into the orbit of divorce attorney and artist patron Sanford Glickauer, who loves talking about women and playing mind games, some of them designed to alter people’s lives. A bond develops between the two men, until Mordecai slowly comes to the realization that he and Patricia may have been the focus of Sanford’s ultimate game. In the Grip is a psychological mystery involving love, loss, sex, murder, and the worlds of scientific publishing and fine art. The action moves from Upstate New York to Manhattan to Frankfurt, Paris, Kiawah Island, SC, Washington, DC and its suburbs, and Providence, RI.
Well-drawn characters come to life with superb dialogue and compelling description, transporting the reader into the time and place of this narrative.
Myer Kutz has a writing style that is lively and entertaining. A slow-paced beginning sets the stage for skillful plot development with many clever twists and turns.
Mordecai Bornstein is the story’s endearing protagonist. He is someone to admire, root for and respect despite his weaknesses. He tells the tale of a charming love story, his profound devotion to the lovely Patricia who is not simply a stunner but a brilliant, successful woman making her own strides.
Be patient with the author’s masterful storytelling; the pace picks up and continues to accelerate until you can’t put it down. The end reward is delivered in spades. You will want to go back and read it again for anything you may have missed.
The epilogue was beautiful. I loved it. I think it would make a wonderful movie.
This book was initially reviewed in May, 2012, but I am recommending it again to horror fans.
Before The House on Blackstone Moor, we experienced the wicked, self-involved albeit charming vampire and his polar opposite— the long-suffering, brooding wimp with a conscience. Carole Gill’s Louis Darton is neither. Instead, he is the perfect balance between the two—a Byronic hero with substance. He endures, as the author writes, no matter what. He does so with great courage, inner strength, and compassion. Now that’s seductive!
As a fan of 19th century British literature and all things gothic, I found, in TheHouse of The Blackstone Moor, all the elements I enjoy in a novel and all the features of a classic. The moods of great works such as Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, even Dickens (a la Oliver Twist and David Copperfield) surface throughout. Carole Gill presents excellent narration, well-drawn characters, and has a sharp ear for dialogue.
While hopelessly invested in Rose Baines and her beloved Louis Darton’s fate, I read this entire book in two days. No sooner had I put it down when an irresistible lure seemed to beckon my return. 😉 I’d have finished it in one sitting if I didn’t need to be elsewhere.
Between Darton and Satan’s cohort “Eco,” there is the additional element of the proverbial dark side with a twist. It brings to mind Anne Rice’s poetic Memnoch The Devil inspired by the Book of Enoch and Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost. This genre has been met and embraced in the past with great interest and sheer fascination. Carole Gill continues in that vein. She pulls it off quite skillfully with wonderfully bold and descriptive passages.
About Carole Gill
Carole Gill is published by Creativia. She writes dark Gothic romance as well as contemporary horror.
Preditors & Editors’ Readers’ POLL #2 BEST HORROR NOVEL 2016 I, BATHORY, QUEEN OF BLOOD
BEST INDIE BOOK FINALIST 2016 CIRCUS OF HORRORS
Her acclaimed 4-novel series, The Blackstone Vampires: 2014 – Amazon Bestseller in Dark Fantasy – THE BLACKSTONE VAMPIRES OMNIBUS 2015 – Amazon Bestseller in Vampire Horror – THE BLACKSTONE VAMPIRES OMNIBUS 2015 – Amazon Bestseller in Horror Anthologies – HOUSE OF HORRORS
AWARDS: eBook Festival of Words 2014 Best Horror: The House on Blackstone Moor and Best Villain: Eco
Top 10 Books – 2013 – The House on Blackstone Moor Aoife Marie Sheridan – ALL THINGS FANTASY Publisher, Ultimate Fantasy Books ‘ 92 Horror authors you need to read right now, Carole Gill – The Blackstone Vampires Series. ~Charlotte Books Examiner,
Justine: Into The Blood Book One – Blood and Passion Series is on sale at Amazon. Book 2, Anat: Blood Princess, follows.
I, Bathory, Queen of Blood, a novel about the Blood Countess Erzsebat Bathory is her latest book. For dark horror fans there is, Carole Gill’s House of Horrors and the novel, Circus of Horrors.
In 2000 she was selected by Northwest Playwrights of England for further development. Short stories and novels were what she preferred to write. Her story, The Devil’s Work is being broadcast web and television in the Fragments of Fear Program in 2016.
She is widely published in horror and sci-fi anthologies:
Fragments of Fear tv and You Tube, ‘The Devil’s Work Killing it Softly, Digital Fiction Publishing Corp. Sideshow, published by PsychoPomp After Armeagedon short story collection by Brian L. Porter (guest story by Carole Gill) Rogues Gallery, The Illustrated Police News, Firbolg Enter at Your Own Risk: Dark Muses Spoken Silences Firbolg Vampires: Romance to Rippers an Anthology of Tasty Tales A S Publications: Enter at Your Own Risk: Old Masters New Voices, An Anthology of Gothic Literature, Fresh Fear: Contemporary Horror Triskaideka Books’ Masters of Horror Anthology One, Triskaideka Books’ Masters of Horror Damned If You Don’t, Sonar 4 Publishing’s Ladies and Gentlemen of Horror 2010, SNM’s Bonded By Blood3 Languish In Lament, Sonar 4 Publishing’s Whitechapel 13, Anthology, Rymfire’s Undead Tales, Rymfire’s Zombie Winter, Rymfire’s Zombie Writing Angelic Knight Press’ Satan’s Toy Box: Demonic Dolls and Whitechapel 13, An Anthology of the Victorian Era Sci Fi Almanac 2009 and 2010 and Science Fiction Freedom Magazine, issues 1-4, Sci Fi Talk’s Tales of Time and Space.Read less
I had Roger Daltrey’s poster on my wall as a kid. My father tore it down nonchalantly when he decided to panel the walls. He didn’t think my sister, who shared the room with me, or I would mind. But, we did. He left the beautiful poster crumpled up in a ball on the floor!🤣
I cried and did a little foot-stomping. The Who was one of our favorite bands. We loved the movie Tommy and the collection of songs from the rock opera that preceded it. I always thought it was the work of a genius, and that genius was Pete Townshend, the band’s legendary guitarist. His other works were phenomenal as well, and seeing Roger bring Tommy to life on screen was incredible. I’ll confess; I had a mad crush on him.
As you can imagine, by the time my sister and I got to see the band in concert, it was so powerful and emotional, I was in tears. My heart was just exploding with joy.
Now, I happen to love a good juicy memoir. When I say juicy, I don’t mean in terms of sex but information. Curiosity, I guess, but I do enjoy learning about people and things.
I didn’t know much about the band members beyond Keith’s self-destructive path, resulting in his death and Pete’s arrest for downloading child porn. (Pete was found innocent and cleared of the charges.) Roger tells that story in his book. He is a fantastic storyteller, and his collaborator did an excellent job helping him put it all together. Reading about his experience, I learned a lot more about music and what bands go through. Being a lover of music who could only dream about singing on stage, I found it fascinating. Reading about the sixties and seventies has always been exciting to me, too. If I could transport back in time to get there, I’d take the chance in a heartbeat.
So, in my assessment, Thanks a lot Mr. Kibblewhite is a fast-paced read and thoroughly enjoyable. Fans of The Who will love it. I got so into it that I had to watch a bunch of their live shows on YouTube. I wanted to observe each of them individually and collectively. (Yeah, when I’m watching or reading something good, I am obsessed.) They blow me away now more than they ever had! All of them were beautiful and brilliant— topnotch musicians and showmen.
I will say I can’t entirely agree with everything Roger says in his book. For instance, he thinks fidelity should not end a marriage. That might have been debatable at the peak of his fame, but to say that after the 80s? He’s had children with women he played with on the road, so he wasn’t too concerned about protection. In terms of awareness advocacy, I’d be remiss not to say I’m glad he and his wife never had to suffer the consequences.
Other than that, I admire Roger Daltrey and respect him. At 5’6, the man’s presence was (and likely still is) enormous. It seemed to me he was not only grounded and a tough guy, especially with his anti-drug stance but also vulnerable and emotional. What happened to Keith and John—and even the troubles Pete had— broke Roger’s heart. He seemed to have tremendous empathy for them, even though their antics had a detrimental effect on the band, in general, and individually.
One thing struck me while reading about his depression after the series of tragedies. He wrote:
“We hadn’t been able to grieve after John’s death. We had just pushed on through that intense tour and then, only weeks after we’d got home, before we could process it all, Pete was arrested and all our lives got turned upside down. In the face of a sustained crisis your brain stops coping. It shuts down to protect your heart.”
That was sort of an a-ha moment for me because this happened to several people I love and me, too. As simple as it may seem, it is deeply profound. In fact, after reading that, it helped me help someone else. 😉
Roger Daltrey shows, throughout this writing, that he’s capable of admitting his mistakes and learning from them. In my book, people like that are a treasure. Thank you, Roger, for sharing your fascinating story and thought-provoking words of wisdom. If I was a fan before, I’m more of a fan after finishing your book. ❤️
I’ve recently created a site at https://culture-cave.spruz.net/ that allows members to share work, blogs, photos, videos, memes, etc. We also have groups, discussions, and chat rooms.
This social network is for everyone involved in the arts (literature/art/music, etc.). It is also for people who appreciate these contributions (book lovers, music lovers, etc.) All are welcome to share, educate, and learn in a supportive space. Recovery from anything is another welcome topic. We strive to heal, evolve, and succeed!
Our “events” feature allows members to post about online or real-life events, including book launches, signings, and promos.
Our “links” feature will enable members to post their websites for interested readers/clients, etc.
The chat rooms can be utilized by members to host events, meetings, demonstrations—whatever helps them in self-promotion, and we will assist with the invites. They also exist to just chat. 🙂
We can continue to build this site together, so if you think you and anyone you know might enjoy this opportunity, please join us.
Once you join, I ask that you read the “IMPORTANT” note on the left side of our landing page and then “How To Use” this site on our “DISCUSSION” board so that you can achieve the maximum benefits of membership.