Descendent Darkness: Book One: Stirrings, begins in 1982 in Clarkes Summit, Virginia, where an evil curse causes unimaginable horrors to the town’s favourite families. Fast forward 21 years later and three men are once again facing the terrors they thought they had diminished forever. Richard Gaston, Father Ryan Bennett and deputy sheriff Tom Campbell find themselves facing nightmares and tortured souls of evil that will pull them into the depths of their darkest days. This skin prickling adventure will bring your nightmares to reality as they face an evil, cold presence; guaranteed to chill you to your bones.
Descendent Darkness, Stirrings, written by A. J. Macready is a supernatural novel set with a dash of crime and drama. There are tortured souls, family bonds and mysterious servants of darkness in this edge of your seat vampire styled thriller. The story line follows several families as they face horrors and challenges that will threaten the relationships of everyone involved. Hold tight as you are thrown into an adventure where the characters fight evil even when they are in the shadows of exhaustion- in order to save the ones they love. The story will leave you hungry for more, as bullets race across the page and violent killers storm through the darkest of nights.
Unlike a typical demon styled novel, Stirrings storyline is complex and filled with clues and details that far surpass any other supernatural story I’ve read for some time. Forget the Twilight era, this novel is filled with the traditional scares and fight scenes fit for a warrior. I found myself unable to turn away as I dove deeper into the novel, growing attached to the characters and their unknown fate.
The characters in Stirrings are surprisingly relatable and the fear for what may be lurking in the dark is a feeling we have all experienced. The relationship between the siblings Holly and Mike Gaston is one to be marvelled as they battle odds together, sacrificing their bodies and souls to pursue a mission with the belief that nothing is more important than family. As well as being siblings, they have a beautiful friendship and you can feel how much they genuinely care for one another as they battle against the odds. However it seems their family are bound for tragedy and the reader will feel emotionally connected to each family member as they fight for what they believe to be right.
Macready’s marvellous way of using descriptive language will have you huddled up and feeling the chills on the back of your neck. I found myself peering around the corner wondering if the cool breeze was the wind or was actually evil materialising its face in the darkness. The narration flows easily and feels like a picture is painted on the page with how beautifully the story is presented.
This is a heart-stopping novel and would recommend this to anybody who loves supernatural stories mixed with crime, drama and friendship. I look forward to reading the other stories in the series!
Pages: 199 | ASIN: B016WLQTS2
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One of the most interesting, and potentially terrifying, fantasies is to view the world through a serial killer’s eyes. The thought is frightening in the sense that the process of a murderer goes against the grain of those of us who are morally at odds with the desire to kill others for entertainment. Brian Gallagher explores this idea in his novel Serial K which follows the path of new-born serial killer Craig Breedlove as he embarks on his journey of perfection. A damaged individual from a relatively tame home, Breedlove has long admired the handy work of famous serial killers. He’s admired them for so long, that once he ties up a few loose ends upon his release from juvenile detention, he begins to literally carve himself a path to becoming one. Paying homage to his idols and tossing in bits of his own style he brings his reign of terror on America to the FBI. Notably agent Ryan O’Callahan and his ex-wife/current flame agent Lea Pucci. So begins the chase of cat and mouse.
Gallagher knows how to appeal to readers. The chapters are short and easy to digest while still maintaining substance and purpose. Murder-mystery-esque books can get buried in their own intrigue, but Serial K doesn’t go down that path. Every sentence is deliberate and the fractured story-telling allows readers to get both sides of the story. We see things from the eyes of Breedlove and we see things through the eyes of the agents assigned to catch him. It’s an interesting take on the serial killer idea. There are no attempts to humanize Breedlove or justify what he’s doing. He’s a young, very rich man, with a very odd sense of admiration.
However, there are a few spelling and grammatical issues that can detract from the tale and the use of vulgar language in the narrative that seems out of place. There are times when it is acceptable, expected even, and Gallagher uses it then. However, he uses some of this language in spots where if this tale were told solely from the mind of Breedlove it would make more sense. There are some questionable stylistic choices, but they shouldn’t be considered deal-breakers.
Aside from the rough patches Gallagher takes us on a wild ride with a serial killer and the FBI agents following close behind. There is an instance where Breedlove is within breathing distance from the agents yet he is able to remain undetected. Whether that is due to brilliance or sheer luck, the fact remains that our killer is still able to remain undiscovered. There are some aspects of the story that seem a little unbelievable; like Breedlove being released from juvenile detention with zero follow-up or monitoring, but that may just be a comment on the state of the justice system.
If you’re looking for an interesting take on the cat-and-mouse game you can definitely find entertainment with Serial K by Brian Gallagher. It’s an easy read with an ending that leaves an opening for more. While it may be lacking in some departments, the concept is still interesting and decently executed.
Pages: 295 | ASIN: B01N6P4RCU
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Chaste focuses on an evil god and his followers in a remote town that has been overcome with a sickness. Five strangers arrive and all their destinies take a turn. What was your inspiration for the setup of the story and how did that help you create the ending?
My inspiration was vague. I’d had a few negative experiences with churches in the past, when I was a religious man. I had the idea of a small town that had experienced the same thing, the perverting of God’s word, of His ideals and methods. The title of the book came with the inspiration of a town struggling to be pure, but unable to find it. A lot of my books are studies of an issue that I’m dealing with in my life. This was my attempt at making peace with God and church, along with a few other dark issues. And Chaste did give me peace. I think it worked out. This book gave me hope, and I hope when other people read it, they can find a path back to God, or at least a path back to purity.
There are plenty of characters in Chaste that I felt were intriguing and well-developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?
I would have to say Sob. I repressed a lot of the abuse and darkness from my childhood. When it started coming back to me, it was debilitating and random. It would come back in the middle of a conversation, with a trigger word I didn’t expect. An entire scene from my past would flash before my eyes. When things like that are happening in your everyday life, you feel mad, as if you’re trembling out of control. So I wrote Sob, a woman haunted by shreds of a past she doesn’t want to remember, a powerful woman, a proficient killer, unapologetic in action and methods, but fragile in mind, always a breath away from the horror of her past. Sob healed me. I will always love her for that.
I felt that Chaste delivers the drama so well that it flirts with the grimdark genre. Was it your intention to give the story such a dark tone?
Chaste was originally supposed to be a short story. I was 63 pages in, and barely scratching the surface of the story, when I realized I was writing something bigger. Chaste was an accidental novel. I had no idea what I was doing when I wrote the rough draft of this book. But I had just been through a lot of mind-numbing therapy, and most of me was a raw and open wound. I was not trying to write a dark book. It just kind of happened. When I wrote the rough draft, grimdark wasn’t an idea yet. This was 12 years ago. There was no such term as grimdark. I didn’t even know to call it dark fantasy. It was just a story I was writing. I entered Chaste broken, and when I left it, I was healed a bit. When you’re going through that kind of catharsis, there’s no internal editor. You literally can’t hold back. There were times when I would write a scene, stand up, back away from my computer, fight back a scream and weep openly. Things were being hammered out that there were no rational words for. I was walking a razor’s edge between reality and fantasy, able to speak about my past without talking about my past. Chaste is dark because when I wrote it, I was in Hell, and the character Cheryl dragged me out.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
My next book is called Mestlven. It, as well, is A Tale from Perilisc. Mestlven tells the story of Sob, after she has put a face on her past, and she can go home. She has been victimized, her world shattered, and now, after Chaste, she knows it. So Sob goes back home to wreak her revenge and fight for her sanity. I went a little mad when I wrote this book. When Sob punished her abusers, she punished mine as well. So look for Mestlven. The soft release date is April 15, 2017.
When her devout parents died, Cheryl turned her back on her god. Years of denial and self-loathing have defeated her. Her life consists of taking orders and succumbing to abuse. A group of strangers stops in Chaste for the night, but an unnamed threat is preying on the town. Tragic deaths have become more and more frequent. Cheryl wants to protect these travelers, expose the evil force, and save her fellow citizens, but she must find a way to believe in hope.
Posted in Interviews
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Architects of the Illusion is about adopted royal sisters Eva and Ashy, members of a bird-like alien species. After Ashy is convicted of killing Eva’s husband, she is exiled to a refugee planet in another system, all the while maintaining her innocence, even though all evidence points to her as the killer. Eva turns to training and discipline, and, inspired by her late husband’s political career as a means to affect real chance, becomes a mercenary. Years later, Ashy escapes and sets off to find her own way in the universe, wondering if she’ll ever stop running, or if her sister will ever believe and forgive her. As an invading force threatens the planets with mutant monsters and destructive chaos, Eva and Ashy must confront their pasts if they are to save their futures.
The strength of this book is the characters. You really grow to care for Eva and Ashy, both as individuals and as estranged sisters. Eva’s mercenary lifestyle forcing her young son far away for his own safety, Ashy’s constant flight from the law and lawless – they’re both sympathetic characters, removed from the world both by their own choices and external influences, and both struggling to examine their relationship as sisters. Themes of love and duty are examined, leaving both characters and readers to wonder if familial bonds can ever be fully broken, or if they even want them to be healed. The secondary characters are also thoroughly unique and fleshed out, both through physical description and dialogue. The author has them often speak aloud to themselves when they’re alone, and while it can seem a little conveniently explanatory at times, there’s no denying that it always reveals more about the character. The author also has the characters speak about events in their past as part of their natural dialogue, without further explanation, allowing the reader to infer themselves, and making the whole thing feel a lot more organic, as if you were talking among old friends – mentioning past events without describing it shot-for-shot in a flashback, because you were all there. This is often hard to achieve in books, as a lot of writers feel they have to explain everything for their readers, but when handled correctly, the hints and quick dialogue with minimal set up work perfectly for better immersion.
The settings and world building are handled really well. Cities, space stations, even whole planets, are beautifully described without getting too bogged down in flowery language or extraneous explanations – they almost become characters themselves. The many varied alien species are also described well, with details about their physical appearances revealed naturally within the context of the story, as opposed to a solid paragraph of description, and their appearances are unique, yet plausible, and intriguing as you consider the evolution that brought them to their present forms. The actions scenes are appropriately heart pounding and tense, especially the exploration of the dying space station, and the quiet scenes are allowed to play out to further invest us in the characters. I will say there is a lot of colloquial language used in the dialogue, which I appreciate for attempting more natural banter than speech-like conversation, but it also has a few too many “like,” “it’s just,” and “errs” that bring it into present day, as opposed to distant future. Gangs of ellipses also litter the dialogue, but in the end, these linguistic and grammar problems do not ruin or negatively influence the book overall for me. Blending science fiction, a little bit of the unexplained, and the nature of human relationships, Architects of the Illusion has something for everyone.
Pages: 314 | ASIN: B00AW6AXZO
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He Count’s their Tears is a about a psychotic killer preying on unsuspecting women. How do you capture the thoughts and emotions of a serial killer?
Wouldn’t it be lovely if I had an answer to this question? The simple truth of it is that I have no idea how I did this. I simply did. I never meant to write a book. I am a Lawyer, not a writer (or so I thought!!). One day I sat down and started writing. I kept writing, and there, on the page, was Aaron, on the ledge, which of course is how the book begins. The character simply unfolded before my eyes.
The writing in your story is very artful and creative, where as other books in this same genre use a language that is succinct, bare, and matter-of-fact. Was it a conscious effort to create a story in this fashion or is this style of writing reflective of your writing style in general?
Once again, if only I had something substantial to say about “my writing style” or “how I conceptualized the book”. This is how it happened; I sat there in front of my computer and typed. The end result was this book.
I thought that you did a great job in creating a genuine connection between the characters. With Aaron being a psychopath do you think he would ever be able to have a meaningful relationship with his cousin Constance?
Hmmm. Your question is answered in the Sequel! Even so, I will say this: Do you remember what Constance whispered to Aaron the day he was born? They were the same words that ruined her life in so many ways. “I will always protect you.” The irony of it is that the psychopath’s victim has no one to protect them during the “relationship” and the terrible journey towards emotional hell. The readers will learn more (much more) about the Aaron/Constance situation in the Sequel, which in itself will explain the very nature of how destructive (and incurable) this personality disorder actually is.
What was one of the hardest parts in He Count’s their Tears for you to write?
The hardest part was finding the time to write! I work full time, and I have a family to take care of. The laundry does not do itself, nor do the dishes! Carving out time to write required making some significant adjustments. My golf clubs have not left the trunk of my car since I put pen to paper, and gone are the days that I can curl up with a good movie on a Sunday afternoon. Even train rides to and from work became “writing time”, and yes I have missed my stop on more than several occasions!
What is the next book that you’re working on and when can your fans expect it to come out?
I am presently at work on the sequel to He Counts Their Tears. The Suffering Room picks up exactly where the first book left off. It explores the lives of the women Aaron targeted and discarded in the first book. The horrors of “life after the psychopath” (including trauma bonding, post traumatic stress syndrome, depression, suicide, and “overcoming pain”) are explored, as are the ways in which Aaron (here, in the typical fashion of the psychopath) seeks to maintain some connection with the women he has abandoned (purportedly just to “say hi” but in reality to see if he still has power over them). There are some surprising twists in the sequel, which I think will shock some people. I plan to release “The Suffering Room” in 2017. It will be followed by the last in this trilogy, The Parade to Hell, which will tie things up nicely (and yes, I do know what happens to Aaron at the end of the third book, but I’m not telling!).
A handsome, successful, charming man. Healer. Miracle maker. Aaron Stein is all those things. Behind the benevolent facade, however, hides a monster: a destroyer of souls who lusts after power and control. Aaron plays his ruse again and again with unsuspecting women who genuinely believe that they have met their new “best friend,” their “soul mate.” Covert hypnosis, edgy trysts, psychological warfare – they’re all part of the sick game he plays “to have all the power”
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