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Instinct or Learned?

Instinct or Learned? by [E. Glenn Tickner]

Instinct or Learned? is a psychological thriller that brings us inside the mind of somebody with one of the rarest conditions known to man. The story begins with the Oklahoma City bombing. After losing two of his beloved family members, Erick Anderson begins to have horrible nightmares. Chalking it up to something along the lines of post-traumatic stress disorder, he visits a psychiatrist to find some relief. Dr. Jacob Gottlieb begins his treatment plan, seeing Erick weekly. Dr. Gottlieb, however, quickly realizes that this is more than just a case of typical night terrors. He uses hypnosis, his exceptional journalistic skills, and the help of a private investigator to slowly piece everything together. There is a battle going on for control of Erick’s mind, and it’s becoming ever clearer that he is not the only one who occupies it. Alongside his co-worker Dr. Jim Hanford and Erick’s beautiful wife Sophia, Dr. Gottlieb finds himself more exorcist than doctor, trying to dispel of an unwanted entity from within a man’s psyche. Even more terrifying, the personality slowly trying to take over Erick’s body has already committed a heinous crime.

Instinct or Learned? is a riveting thriller that keeps the reader fully engaged. The incorporation of historical events gives a very plausible feel to this historical fiction novel. It is believable while also being full of excitement. There are some genre-blurring ideas in the story that are seemingly based in science fiction and I really enjoyed how creative those ideas were and how vividly those ideas were presented in the story. It is clear that a lot of research was done by E. Glenn Tickner in preparation for this novel because the mystery at the heart of the story, as well as the breadcrumbs that lead readers to the center of it, is really well-throughout and the historical details serve to color the story all throughout.

While I was engrossed with the story, I would have appreciated more dynamic dialogue and a more palpable chemistry between the characters because what’s given is interesting, I just want to dive a bit deeper.

Instinct or Learned? is an enthralling medical thriller with elements of a noir-esque crime fiction story that gives this novel a unique feel that I rarely find in literature. The level of intrigue throughout this spellbinding suspense novel is off the charts. I was desperate to know what was going on and the slow reveal was entertaining.

Pages: 247 | ASIN: B08V8SXT3R

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The Knife Thrower’s Wife

Picture the setting of a peaceful suburban neighborhood with the perfect family, the perfect house with the perfect neighbors. A mirage for the American dream. Julia Green is in a marital rut. As she struggles to put the pieces of her happy life back together, she finds things are not as picture-perfect as they may seem. Oblivious to her husband’s true nature, she starts to unintendingly dig up the dirt on a life she thought was full of love and bliss. To cope with her failed marriage, Julia starts painting scenes from her daydreams that unexpectedly turn her into the prime suspect in her husband’s death.

Author Sheila McGraw takes us through an unconventional murder mystery in The Knife Thrower’s Wife. We follow an average American family whose life turns upside-down when plots of murderous intent and scandalous affairs come to light. This inventive story takes off when Julia is arrested, and her trial begins. This twist in the plot is a beautiful example of the nail-biting anticipation McGraw expertly executes all the way to the climax of this mystery. The author builds suspense for readers as the story races towards the finale. McGraw leaves readers second-guessing Julia’s innocence, and the much-anticipated climax reveals who the killer really is. The story’s rising action created an opportunity for the author to completely surprise her readers.

This psychological thriller is a character study in Julia’s personality. Who she is at the beginning of this complex novel is a complete 180 from where she ends up. Readers will cheer for her as she finds her voice and stops being overlooked and walked over.

The Knife Thrower’s Wife is a riveting murder mystery that will keep you on your toes and have you wondering just what will happen next. The action and suspense are thrilling and make for a page-turning experience readers can not put down till the end.

Pages: 346 | ASIN : B08FHBKPH9

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Savage City

In the aftermath of the global economic crisis of 1932, the Savage City of Detroit has become a microcosm of the subsequent ferocities of the century. Amid the murky politics between the capitalists in control and the Communist-backed Unemployed Council for the worker’s rights, there are Black Legions, Purples, and Sicilians, the criminal organizations with their ridiculous radical views and drugs trade. With the backdrop of the 1932 Ford Hunger March, the four protagonists of this crime thriller encounter, and are stuck in, the political and criminal deluge that irrevocably change their fate forever.

Within the span of eight days before a six-week leap in the story, the narratives of the four main characters in the psychological thriller expose the frustration and helplessness of common people just getting by with their lives in the racially divided, xenophobic, and brutal city of Detroit, where a person’s life is as fragile as an acorn. Detective Clarence Brown’s agitation and utmost efforts while tracking down the killer of a teenage colored boy reveals the general disbelief in the preposterous prejudice against black citizens. On the other hand, Ben, the Jewish victim of racial persecution, and Elizabeth, the member of a communist league, demonstrate the victims of tragic circumstances, emblematic of the society in general.

The author Donald Levin fuses aspects of the historical Ford Hunger March in 1932 with fictional characters and plots that make for an engaging and powerful read. As the story unfolds, the scenes with more than one protagonist offer an extra perspective through the character’s self-narratives. This allows for a clear and precise description of the event and thus enhancing the sense of inclusivity and anticipation. 

This crime thriller features a large number of minor characters to add depth to the plot, which both adds excitement and complexity. It’s ideal for readers who prefer reading novels with numerous and distinctive characters.

Savage City reveals the stark reality of the Great Depression in its most vivid colors, showing the desperation of a city crippled by the consequences of the masses of frustrated men and women, crushed between dirty politics and corrupt authorities. It is answered explicitly by the many characters in the novel as to who transforms a city into a savage beast. This intense book is ideal for readers who want a glimpse into the human psyche of a city affected by a bull-headed and corrupt system, perfectly encapsulated in a brilliant work of fiction.

Pages: 426 | ASIN : B09N6RJCVF

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The Sound of Wings

Three women from different social backgrounds, united by their shared interest in the creative arts, have their fates collide at an auction. Bound by their insecurities, their encounter reveals the dark secret they have buried inside themselves. The secrets slowly come to light as their friendship solidifies. However, it is not only the bond they share that proves therapeutic to those women, but also that flutter of wings, signaling the everlasting presence of the vital forces in their lives.

The author of the book, Suzanne Simonetti, expertly depicts the anxieties and uncertainties of the human mind through the voices of women of various ages, experiences, and circumstances. From the struggling writer who fears losing his son’s legal custody to the ‘real-life Cinderella’ of Cape May Krystal Axelrod. Each character in this women fiction novel is on the hunt for their individuality. The motherly affection contributes an important part in the story, cropping up through Jocelyn, Goldie, and Pearl, the housekeeper.

In addition to focusing on its human characters, this psychological thriller also explores and depicts animal faculties. The statement “Her babies always knew where to find the love and could easily decipher whether they were in companies of allies and foes” provides the reader with an interesting glimpse into animal nature observed by the author. In titling The Sound of Wings, which begins and ends with the arrival of monarch butterflies, the author does an excellent job of conveying the sentiment behind the work’s subject matter. The concept Suzanne Simonetti has associated with butterflies and their arrival will fascinate readers.

The Sound of Wings, by Suzanne Simonetti, enumerates the practicalities of life with its mystical elements. The theme of self-belief, or lack thereof, runs throughout the book and the characters. Characters displayed courage and determination through their interactions with each other. The pace of the narrative will appeal to people who enjoy slow-paced novels that spend time really developing their characters and telling their stories. This women’s fiction novel will prove to be a page-turner if you enjoy mystery fiction, with plenty of drama and a drizzle of occult and spiritualism.

Pages: 297 | ASIN : B08F2BJP1N

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Paradise Harbour

Paradise Harbour : A Noir Horror Thriller by [Alexander Semenyuk]

Paradise Harbour by Alexander Semenyuk is a riveting noir thriller about a missing med school student. A private detective is hired and tasked with finding her. Her father is wealthy and influential and avails to the detective the resources he needs. It turns out there is a serial killer in Rhode Island, coupled with a few more unsavory suspects – the KKK, a sea god cult, a banker and a Madame who both double in prostitution. As he narrows down the search, the story takes a harrowing twist.

Paradise Harbour is a captivating thriller that takes readers on an unpredictable but deeply intriguing investigation.

I like the way the author uses songs to tell the stories of both the cult followers and their survivors. I also enjoyed the pacing of the novel. While the novel takes some wild turns, readers are given enough time to take in the details and appreciate the subtly in the story, characters, and scenes, all of this makes this mystery easy to follow, however complex it seems to get. 

The story explores a variety of themes in creative ways that give this story surprising depth. Themes such as the occult, racism, gender-based violence, prostitution, gangs, psychopathy, immorality, and corruption all come together to uniquely describe this secretive town’s traits and gives readers a relatable depiction of the most corrupt societies. I really enjoyed the characters in this novel. They were intriguing and well developed and fit within this dark and moody thriller in unique ways.

Paradise Harbour is an enthralling crime thriller that fans of noir novels will easily devour. With slick story telling and a compelling plot, this is a mesmerizing horror story that I highly recommend.

Pages: 137 | ASIN: B09JXP1BV6

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Three Dimensions: Lizzies Scaries

Three Dimensions, by Elizabeth Reinach, is a collection of short stories with themes ranging from crime mysteries to family secrets and greed. In The Trio, you will meet an elderly couple terrorized by three creepy adolescents; Grandma introduces Johnny, who is entangled in a family drama that arises from his wealthy family matriarch’s revelations on her 80th birthday; a Christmas night’s sketchy deal goes awry in White Witness; an unusually close relationship of love and jealousy among siblings is explored in The Tennis Party 1885 by Sir John Lavery; The Seànce reveals the tragic fate of a recently deceased man to his acquaintances; an old multiple homicide case resurfaces in William?, and a deathbed confession from a ill woman sparks her daughter’s search for the truth in the final tale, Margaret Donald Was Only a Typist.

The anthology begins with relatively mild and seemingly unrelated topics. This choice of pace might seem tone-deaf at the first glance – which might be the book’s main caveat -, but the approach soon spikes the reader’s interest and the temptation to skip through the pages to satisfy their curiosity. As the tales grow increasingly more eerie and uncomfortable, sometimes even prompting external research for plot twists and “Easter eggs”, this edge-of-your-seat book grapples with the reader’s sense of familiarity: the stories consistently present daily-life topics with an obscure twist that gives off the stomach-churning sensation of accessing a forbidden something you should not have been.

Three Dimensions, by Elizabeth Reinach showcases vastly different characters that range from the gullible that struggles with her fashion choices in Aladdin’s Cave to acclaimed 20th-century European psychoanalysts from Oedipus in Furs and the overtly polite staff that hides a rotten cynicism in Beneath the Surface. Illustrated by Salvador Capuyan with comical and satirical artwork, this collection of short stories will appeal to readers who enjoy an unique style of casual entertainment.

Pages: 67 | ASIN: B0823GFW2K

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To Illustrate These Horrors

David Colin
David Colin Author Interview

Resignation follows a college graduate who is pursuing a job in human service provision but finds political and societal forces eroding his resolve. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Frequently there is neither training nor any support at all for front-line human service positions of employment. Often the front-line workers are placed in very vulnerable positions that the employee is not equipped to handle. The front-line employee is often faced with a dangerous situation and the employee’s personal safety is compromised. This is frightening and unfairly challenging for the human service employee to be faced with.

Your characters are intriguing and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Human Services and Social Work fields are not gender-balanced in terms of who staffs them. Homophobia and misandry can prevail as such. I wanted to illustrate these horrors through my character’s actions and thoughts throughout my novel.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

There are heavy themes explored in the novel RESIGNATION which may make some readers uncomfortable, yet they are presented in my work for the potential consideration of personage suffering from political/societal challenges. The narrator and other characters experience childhood abuse, abuse in the workplace, homophobia, gender discrimination, and misandry. These themes are respectfully explored in my work.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The title of my next novel is: THIS RIGOR OF DURATION. The work will be available during early 2022. This upcoming novel will explore controversial themes as well. Thank you very much for allowing me to be interviewed today.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

A recent college graduate naively pursues what he believes will be a meaningful vocation in the field of human service provision. Almost immediately, he faces a challenging descent of hardship and struggle as the multiple political and societal protests that surround him destroy his resolve. The protagonist’s only salvation is found in an enigmatic confidant, who lives in complete solitude with rooted inner trauma, yet selflessly provides his troubled young companion with the only source of genuine compassion and reason that the pensive idealist will ever be allowed to recognize as a result of the ill-fated pursuit that he was hardly prepared for.


Resignation by [David Colin]

David Colin’s Resignation tells a story that young professionals sadly know all too well. We follow a fresh grad who has just started working in human service provision with dreams of changing the world – or at least shine a little light in reality’s cruel darkness. Very swiftly (on his first day on the job, in fact) he learns that there are political and societal forces at hand that can break his resolve. Luckily, he finds a true friend that lends a helping hand that can keep him on his journey. 

Resignation describes the many horrors of working in a challenging and thankless job. Whatever your profession is, it is easy to relate to the unnamed protagonist and main character of this novel. While the specific subject matter can be alien to most readers who will pick up this book, they can surely empathize with scenes where the protagonist “slowly rested my head upon the desk before me, and languished, distracted by weakness and discouragement.” Personally, I can’t even count the number of times I’ve done that at some of my jobs. 

And speaking of horror, this novel about human services with strong political criticism almost reads like one. I can easily picture Grady Hendrix telling the same story but with a large dash of satire.

The narration is fast-paced and densely written, like you are being dragged into a cold dark place where unspeakable events occur. What is almost comical, though, are the scenes where it seems like the office-place atrocities seem exaggerated. Of course, that is just what the uninitiated would think, because as someone who has held a desk job for quite some time, I can assure anyone that it is all true. Whether intentional or not, Colin may have just scared an entire generation from working a 9-to-5. 

Having said that, it’s certainly not an easy beach-side read – unless, of course, you like pondering on the dark side of humanity and society with waves crashing in the background. Wherever you choose to read David Colin’s Resignation, don’t say I didn’t warn you: it’s going to stick with you for days afterward. 

Resignation is a riveting psychological thriller that is high in social commentary and entertainment value.

Pages: 130 | ASIN: B09FYKQ43S

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