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      Something Wicked This Way Comes...   10/09/2019

      The Autumn Supporter Giveaway!       Welcome to the very first of the seasonal BCF supporter giveaways! This month also marks one year since I took on the forum, so I want to say an extra huge thank you to all of you for keeping this place going. I have a little bit more to say about that later but, for now, let's get to the giveaway!     The Autumn Giveaway winner will be getting two Penguin Little Black Classics, The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe and To Be Read At Dusk by Charles Dickens. Both of these little books contain three atmospheric short stories, perfect for autumnal evenings. The winner will also get Mary Shelley tea (a lavender and vanilla black tea) from Rosie Lea Tea's Literary Tea Collection (https://www.rosieleatea.co.uk/collections/literary-tea-collection) and a chocolate skull, to really get that spooky atmosphere .   and...   A special treat for a special month. The winner will choose one of the following recent paperback releases from the independent bookshop Big Green Bookshop:       The Wych Elm by Tana French A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan Melmoth by Sarah Perry The Familiars by Stacey Halls  The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White   The winner will be chosen via the usual random selection process in one week. Patreon supporters are entered automatically. If you aren't a patreon supporter but you'd like to join in with this giveaway, you can support here: https://www.patreon.com/bookclubforum.   I really hope you're all going to like this introduction to the seasonal giveaways. It's been a lot of fun to put together. Other chocolate skulls may have been harmed during the selection process…     
Mac

Mac Reads (started 2009)

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I just noticed your review of Vlad...I'm wondering if it's the same I read some years ago. Fascinating character. The version I read was fairly graphic of his various execution methods, and wasn't his wife pretty gruesome as well? Blood baths, literally and that sort of thing?

 

Anyhow, good review! I'm trotting over to amazon now....... :D

 

Added in Edit: It was one of these, not sure these years later.

http://www.amazon.com/Vlad-Impaler-Real-Dracula-Biography/dp/1599862026/ref=pd_sim_b_2

 

or

 

http://www.amazon.com/Vlad-Impaler-Search-Real-Dracula/dp/0750935227/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1290475928&sr=1-3

Edited by pontalba

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Hi Mac :)

 

I've read Hard boiled wonderland too, very imaginative but half the time I didn't know where it was going! I preferred Norwegian Wood to be honest :)

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Hi Mac :)

 

I've read Hard boiled wonderland too, very imaginative but half the time I didn't know where it was going! I preferred Norwegian Wood to be honest :)

 

As did I, my friend. As did I...friends3.gif

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The Passage by Justin Cronin

 

Amy Harper Bellafonte is six years old and her mother thinks she's the most important person in the whole world. She is. Anthony Carter doesn't think he could ever be in a worse place than Death Row. He's wrong. FBI agent Brad Wolgast thinks something beyond imagination is coming. It is.

Unaware of each other's existence, but bound together in ways none of them could have imagined, they are about to embark on a journey. An epic journey that will take them through a world transformed by man's darkest dreams, to the very heart of what it means to be human. And beyond.

Because something is coming. A tidal wave of darkness ready to engulf the world. And Amy is the only person who can stop it.

What a superb novel. For such a chunky book, I've rattled through it, picking it up at every possible five minutes I could. I'm not really one for post-apocalyptic novels (although I loved The Stand), but - probably due to where this novel begins - I've thoroughly enjoyed this. The characters are very believable and well constructed; the plot moves fluidly and makes one want to keep turning the pages, although not in a way a thriller usually would (I felt part of it, for some reason); the language is sophisticated; the threat well realised.

 

I understand that this is the first of three and I now have to wait over 18 months for the second to hit the shelves. Already, I am bristling with anticipation!

 

10/10

Edited by Mac

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Hi Mac :)

 

That sounds really good, I might wait till all 3 are out though, I don't have the patience to wait!

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The Passage by Justin Cronin

 

Amy Harper Bellafonte is six years old and her mother thinks she's the most important person in the whole world. She is. Anthony Carter doesn't think he could ever be in a worse place than Death Row. He's wrong. FBI agent Brad Wolgast thinks something beyond imagination is coming. It is.

Unaware of each other's existence, but bound together in ways none of them could have imagined, they are about to embark on a journey. An epic journey that will take them through a world transformed by man's darkest dreams, to the very heart of what it means to be human. And beyond.

Because something is coming. A tidal wave of darkness ready to engulf the world. And Amy is the only person who can stop it.

What a superb novel. For such a chunky book, I've rattled through it, picking it up at every possible five minutes I could. I'm not really one for post-apocalyptic novels (although I loved The Stand), but - probably due to where this novel begins - I've thoroughly enjoyed this. The characters are very believable and well constructed; the plot moves fluidly and makes one want to keep turning the pages, although not in a way a thriller usually would (I felt part of it, for some reason); the language is sophisticated; the threat well realised.

 

I understand that this is the first of three and I now have to wait over 18 months for the second to hit the shelves. Already, I am bristling with anticipation!

 

10/10

 

Great review Mac, its a great read, roll on the next installment! :)

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The Passage by Justin Cronin

 

Amy Harper Bellafonte is six years old and her mother thinks she's the most important person in the whole world. She is. Anthony Carter doesn't think he could ever be in a worse place than Death Row. He's wrong. FBI agent Brad Wolgast thinks something beyond imagination is coming. It is.

Unaware of each other's existence, but bound together in ways none of them could have imagined, they are about to embark on a journey. An epic journey that will take them through a world transformed by man's darkest dreams, to the very heart of what it means to be human. And beyond.

Because something is coming. A tidal wave of darkness ready to engulf the world. And Amy is the only person who can stop it.

What a superb novel. For such a chunky book, I've rattled through it, picking it up at every possible five minutes I could. I'm not really one for post-apocalyptic novels (although I loved The Stand), but - probably due to where this novel begins - I've thoroughly enjoyed this. The characters are very believable and well constructed; the plot moves fluidly and makes one want to keep turning the pages, although not in a way a thriller usually would (I felt part of it, for some reason); the language is sophisticated; the threat well realised.

 

I understand that this is the first of three and I now have to wait over 18 months for the second to hit the shelves. Already, I am bristling with anticipation!

 

10/10

I've got it, and it'll probably be my next read.

Thanks for the great review. :smile2:

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Buried Alive by J.A.Kerley

 

Soon after witnessing the escape of violent psychopath Bobby Crayline from prison, Alabaman detective Carson Ryder takes a rare break in the mountains. But his vacation is interrupted when an anonymous phone call summons him to the scene of a grisly murder.

With more savage killings, and the heavy-handed FBI only inflaming the situation, Ryder and local detective Donna Cherry sift through the increasingly bizarre clues. Is there more than one killer on the loose? And how does Carson's clinically insane brother Jeremy, now on the run, fit into the picture? It is down to Ryder to unearth horrors from the past that others believe should remain buried...

Jack Kerley, once more, delivers a high-quality thriller with twists of plot enough to keep you turning the pages. His style is easy to read and never becomes so gruesome that one wonders if one should finish the book. Carson Ryder is a very likeable protagonist and, as it's written in the first person, speaks to the reader in a way that he feels like a friend, particularly if you've been keeping up with the other novels. There are occasions with Kerley's novels when something leaps out at me, a quote or a description or a philosophy which sticks with me and there hasn't been with this one, but all the same, a really good, easy thriller to read.

 

8.5/10

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Why hello there Mac, good to see your still reading good novels. I see your still much enjoying Mr Kerley's writing; I really do need to get ahold of another of his books, because I enjoyed the one I did read a while back. Maybe a 'JA Kerley' search will be neccesary when I hopefully get my Amazon Kindle at Christmas. :grinhat:

Edited by Ben

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Waterstones gave away a supplement with the first few chapters of 'The Passage' but I only read a little bit as I realised almost straight away that it was something I wanted to read .. and I didn't want to spoil my enjoyment of tucking into the whole novel.

I'm glad to read that the rest of it was equally superb, great review Mac ... must pick this one up soon.

 

 

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Dexter is Delicious by Jeff Lindsay

 

Another enjoyable novel from Jeff Lindsay, with our lovable serial killer in a reasonably restrained mood since the arrival of his new-born daughter. I found the plot a little distasteful, if you'll excuse the pun, but there wasn't too much gratuitous grimness this time and all through the book I remained firmly in Camp Dexter. I'm really enjoying the growth of the characters, their personal development, watching Dexter's view of the world change. What's somewhat disturbing is that I think that I would be friends with him - what's all that about? What on earth does that say about me?!? I mean, I don't agree with his sense of justice, but I don't feel any kind of empathy for his victims...(maybe I need to see a psychiatrist or something)huh.gif

 

Anyway. Hugely enjoyable. If you've not read any of the Dexter books before, start at the beginning and watch him grow. It's brilliant stuff, if you like crime fiction.

 

9/10

 

Aaaaah yeah, that's the stuff! :giggle: Too bad you found the plot a little distasteful, and I will excuse the pun :D And I know what you mean about wanting to almost be friends with him; he would be a great protector, if not totally in tune with the emotional business a friendship needs :rolleyes:

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Tooth & Nail by Ian Rankin

 

Because the first body was found in Wolf Street, because the murderer takes a bite from each body, the press have found a new terror, the Wolfman...

 

Drafted down to the Big Smoke thanks to a supposed expertise in the modus operandi of serial killers, Inspector John Rebus is on a train south from Edinburgh. His Scotland Yard opposite number, George Flight, isn't too happy at yet more interference. It's bad enough having several Chief Inspectors on your back without  being hounded at every turn by an upstart Jock. Rebus is going to have to deal with the racial prejudice as well as the predations of a violent maniac. When he's offered a serial killer profile of the Wolfman by an attractive lady psychologist, it's too good an opportunity to turn down. But in finding an ally, he may have given his enemies an easy means of attack.

 

This is the third novel in the Rebus​ series and I enjoyed it immensely, rocketing through it and staying up really late at night to finish the flppin' thing. Rankin was new to me until introduced by my (then) girlfriend - now fiancee - who thinks he's the best thing ever. She's near the mark, certainly. The pace is excellent, the prose spot-on and the character development - particularly Rebus', as one would expect - well realised.

 

I do get a little bored of the standard 'love interest' in novels and quite often skim over the obligatory 'sack time' where the protagonist manages to engage in some underpants charleston with the 'oh-my-gosh-an-attractive-lady' second fiddle. Aside from that (and I appreciate that to sell books, authors are obliged to write a section of this), this was a belter. If you're into crime and you've not read Rankin, I recommend that you have a shufty.

 

Cheers for now.

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I do get a little bored of the standard 'love interest' in novels and quite often skim over the obligatory 'sack time' where the protagonist manages to engage in some underpants charleston with the 'oh-my-gosh-an-attractive-lady' second fiddle. Aside from that (and I appreciate that to sell books, authors are obliged to write a section of this),

 

Do you know that's exactly what I thought of the sex-scene in the only Ian Rankin I've ever read. It felt like the obligatory sex scene, rather that having anything to add to the book.

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The Savage Altar by Asa Larsson

 

On the floor of a church in northern Sweden, the body of a man lies mutilated and defiled–and in the night sky, the aurora borealis dances as the snow begins to fall....So begins Åsa Larsson’s spellbinding thriller, winner of Sweden’s Best First Crime Novel Award and an international literary sensation.

Rebecka Martinsson is heading home to Kiruna, the town she’d left in disgrace years before. A Stockholm attorney, Rebecka has a good reason to return: her friend Sanna, whose brother has been horrifically murdered in the revivalist church his charisma helped create. Beautiful and fragile, Sanna needs someone like Rebecka to remove the shadow of guilt that is engulfing her, to forestall an ambitious prosecutor and a dogged policewoman. But to help her friend, and to find the real killer of a man she once adored and is now not sure she ever knew, Rebecka must relive the darkness she left behind in Kiruna, delve into a sordid conspiracy of deceit, and confront a killer whose motives are dark, wrenching, and impossible to guess....(
courtesy of Goodreads)

 

This is the first of Asa Larsson's novels I've read, and it didn't disappoint. I found the setting very atmospheric and the pace was perfectly set. I get somewhat irritated by the tag "If you like Stieg Larsson, then you'll love Asa Larsson" because they are nothing alike at all, apart from the fact that it's set in Sweden and the authors share a (common) surname.

 

Saying that, the characters are flawed and well realised, making one's investment worthwhile, because it's all so much more believable. I will happily move on to the next book.

 

If you enjoy Scandicrime, give this lady a go, because it's worth the time.

 

8/10

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Glad you enjoyed The Savage Altar. I have to confess that I bought it because of the Stieg Larsson tag but I agree with you, they are very different.

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Hello Mac,

 

Have you read the second book of the Justin Cronin series? I've been putting it off because it's been so long since the last one that I'm going to have to reread the first one!

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Hello Mac,

 

Have you read the second book of the Justin Cronin series? I've been putting it off because it's been so long since the last one that I'm going to have to reread the first one!

 

Yes, I have, and it's a belter! Do it, Cookie. You know you want to...!

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

 

'What are you thinking, Amy? The question I've asked most often during our marriage, if not out loud, if not to the person who could answer. I suppose these questions stormcloud over every marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?' Just how well can you ever know the person you love? This is the question that Nick Dunne must ask himself on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police immediately suspect Nick. Amy's friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn't true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they aren't his. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what did really did happen to Nick's beautiful wife? And what was left in that half-wrapped box left so casually on their marital bed? In this novel, marriage truly is the art of war...

 

Wow. What a terrific book. Characterisation is unbelievably good, pulling you through huge ambiguity throughout the entire novel. I found it challenging in a very good way, and it made me question a lot of how I felt about the characters, all the while thinking what an incredibly talented author Flynn is. I can't describe a lot of what cracks off in this novel for fear of spoiling it. My advice? Read it, and read it when you don't have a lot else on, for it will eat your time.

 

10/10 A real, proper belter!

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Deeply Odd by Dean Koontz

 

Coming across a sinister truck driver in the quiet Californian coastal town where he lives, Odd has a vision of three innocent children who will be horribly slaughtered by this man.

Realising that his intent is now known, the truckie tries to kill Odd, but fails and flees. Odd takes pursuit, and soon discovers that he's up against not a single twisted murderer, but a network of evil men and women whose identities and motivations are mysterious and whose resources seem almost supernatural.
(Courtesy of Goodreads).

 

I've been a loyal fan of Dean Koontz since I was a teenager and have found his novels reasonably consistent in their ability to keep me turning the pages. Granted, an author as prolific as Koontz must surely have his ups and downs, but this novel kept me glued throughout. The pace is good and the character development of the protagonist (Odd Thomas) is nicely shaped.

 

I do like the way Dean Koontz views the world and his moral take on it. It's worth reading purely for that, really, although the series of books featuring Odd Thomas are worth reading from the start - beginning with Odd Thomas - as they follow the memoirs of the chap over the course of around 18 months of his rather turbulent life.

 

7/10 - another well sculptured book.

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I've just bought The Savage Altar by Asa Larsson.

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