A bleak and haunting multigenre tale.

BRIDE OF THE DRAGON KING

In this paranormal novel, a woman discovers she has mysterious ties to a handsome but bewildering stranger.

It was Elisabeth’s idea to backpack in Ireland with her fiance, Josh. But the trip and her engagement end prematurely when she finds definitive proof that Josh has been unfaithful. She goes off on her own and takes a tumble in the woods only to have an apparent dream of a dragon abducting her. This is especially troubling, as she’s had a lifelong recurring dream of a dragon proclaiming she is his and the two living together in immortality. Elisabeth awakens in the village of Oakshire, where a “healer,” Constantine, is tending to her injury from the fall. He’s certainly attractive, but Elisabeth keeps her distance, as she’s fresh out of the turbulent relationship with Josh. But Constantine seduces her: He may have genuine feelings for her, having lost the woman he loved to murder. Elisabeth, meanwhile, just wants to get home to Philadelphia, but with a flooded road and no cell service, it doesn’t appear she’s going anywhere soon. Although fate may have connected her dreams with Constantine’s past, he has a shocking plan for Elisabeth. While surprises await Elisabeth, Drighton provides enough clues that readers will predict most of them. But this is the striking story’s essence: a relentless dread, with unpleasantness seeming inevitable. As in her preceding novel, The Ghosts of Winworth Manor (2019), the author writes erotic scenes tinged with a sense of uneasiness. Although her straightforward prose gives explicit erotica a romantic overtone, readers will be aware of something dark in certain characters’ motivations. Even dubious individuals get the spotlight (and perhaps sympathy) in the ominous narrative’s episodes, from the backstory of Constantine’s lost love to Josh’s post-breakup encounter that ultimately links to the main plot. Despite the memorable ending implying a possible sequel, this engrossing novel works as a stand-alone.

A bleak and haunting multigenre tale.

Pub Date: May 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68470-207-7

Page Count: 140

Publisher: Lulu

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

All of Pendergast’s adventures are weird and wonderful fun, and this is no exception.

BLOODLESS

FBI Special Agent Pendergast and his cohorts face great peril as they try to find out what’s bleeding a Georgia city dry.

In 1971, the mysterious hijacker D.B. Cooper parachutes from a commercial airliner with a bundle of cash in the remote northwest and is never heard from again. A half-century later, Aloysius X.L. Pendergast and colleague Armstrong Coldmoon are sent to Savannah, Georgia, to investigate a “most peculiar incident”: a body has washed ashore with nary a drop of blood left in the corpse. A reader’s first thought might be What’s that got to do with an old hijacking? Leave it to the imaginations of Preston and Child to eventually make the delightfully strange connection. Pendergast looks every bit the stereotypical undertaker, not at all fitting the FBI mold. He brings along his adult “ward,” Constance Greene, who brings her stiletto everywhere she goes. Meanwhile, bloodless bodies accumulate. Who could possibly be committing these frightful atrocities? And why only in Savannah? That one’s easy: because it’s a spooky old city “with its gnarled trees and crooked houses,” and everything about the plot is spooky and surreal. A film crew prepares to create a phony documentary in a graveyard using smoke machines and showing callous disregard for the dead. A scheming U.S. senator frets that the rapid escalation in ghastly violence will hurt his reelection prospects, and he pressures the FBI for a rapid solution. Unfortunately, the killer makes an unholy mess of the city, sucking out its Southern charm along with plenty of blood. He—she—let’s settle on it—turns the tale into one of more horror than crime. Without Pendergast’s perspicacity, Coldmoon’s competence, and Constance’s cojones (figuratively, of course), that old city of mint juleps would be a smoking hole in the ground. And readers wouldn’t learn about D.B. Cooper’s fate. The authors’ imaginations run unfettered as they travel to unearthly locales, but in the end it comes down to beleaguered Savannah.

All of Pendergast’s adventures are weird and wonderful fun, and this is no exception.

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5387-3670-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

Fans of smart horror will sink their teeth into this one.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE SOUTHERN BOOK CLUB'S GUIDE TO SLAYING VAMPIRES

Things are about to get bloody for a group of Charleston housewives.

In 1988, the scariest thing in former nurse Patricia Campbell’s life is showing up to book club, since she hasn’t read the book. It’s hard to get any reading done between raising two kids, Blue and Korey, picking up after her husband, Carter, a psychiatrist, and taking care of her live-in mother-in-law, Miss Mary, who seems to have dementia. It doesn’t help that the books chosen by the Literary Guild of Mt. Pleasant are just plain boring. But when fellow book-club member Kitty gives Patricia a gloriously trashy true-crime novel, Patricia is instantly hooked, and soon she’s attending a very different kind of book club with Kitty and her friends Grace, Slick, and Maryellen. She has a full plate at home, but Patricia values her new friendships and still longs for a bit of excitement. When James Harris moves in down the street, the women are intrigued. Who is this handsome night owl, and why does Miss Mary insist that she knows him? A series of horrific events stretches Patricia’s nerves and her Southern civility to the breaking point. (A skin-crawling scene involving a horde of rats is a standout.) She just knows James is up to no good, but getting anyone to believe her is a Sisyphean feat. After all, she’s just a housewife. Hendrix juxtaposes the hypnotic mundanity of suburbia (which has a few dark underpinnings of its own) against an insidious evil that has taken root in Patricia’s insular neighborhood. It’s gratifying to see her grow from someone who apologizes for apologizing to a fiercely brave woman determined to do the right thing—hopefully with the help of her friends. Hendrix (We Sold Our Souls, 2018, etc.) cleverly sprinkles in nods to well-established vampire lore, and the fact that he’s a master at conjuring heady 1990s nostalgia is just the icing on what is his best book yet.

Fans of smart horror will sink their teeth into this one.

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68369-143-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

more