NIGHTMARE ALLEY

This is Stanton (Stan) Carlisle’s story, charting his rise and inevitable fall. Set in the depression era, against a backdrop of a travelling freak show, the novel gets off to a great start, rich in characterisation, heavy on ‘carny’ slang and laden with atmosphere. The carny folk are all dishonest, as we would see it now, everything is aimed at fleecing the ‘mugs’ even…

THE DOLL

The tagline on the front cover of The Doll proclaims, “It brings death to all who find it” signalling a thriller with supernatural overtones. And, indeed, the doll features in the opening sequence of the book, suitably grotesque and sinister. It is then ignored for quite a long time while the author sets up quite a long and pretty dull investigation into abuse at…

THE PACT

Sharon Bolton has a well deserved reputation as an excellent writer. Her plots are (more than) intricate with multiple characters all with clearly defined personalities. She never loses the thread of any of her multi-layered stories and holds the reader entranced to the very last word.The Pact could possibly be the most complicated novel she has written so far. It is certainly the most…

THE APRIL DEAD

There are a small number of authors whose books I will buy without reading reviews because I know I am in for a great experience. I have just added Alan Parks to that select group. Having now followed his deeply-flawed cop, Harry McCoy, from January to April, I am completely hooked on the author’s particular take on Scottish noir. His taciturn, stripped down style…

THE PLAYERS

BLURBA stranger has you cornered.They call themselves The Host.You are forced to play their game.In it one person can live and the other must die.You are the next player. You have a choice to make.This is a game where nobody wins… REVIEWThe Players has the bones of a good story and succeeds in raising questions in the reader’s mind about just how far one would…