The Nightbreaker is a short but welcome sojourn into the world of the Gods and Men Cycle series by Kristopher Jerome. Following a paladin by the name of Daniel, we first are introduced into the conflict between the gods of darkness and gods of light and the conflict that is played out on the Mortal plane. Daniel is part of a mission that goes awry, but learns of a terrible new champion of darkness, Rexin the Blasted. As the story unfolds, Daniel bands together with other brave souls who seek out and stop this terrible menace, otherwise the mortal plane will be swallowed by darkness.
The pacing of Jerome’s novella is spot on, although sword & sorcery novels are often quicker paced. The first battle of the story takes place only a few pages in and I was immediately taken in by the action and everything that Daniel saw as he fought bravely through the demons. The setting is not overly elaborate, especially with the clashing of light and dark. The simplicity of the premise will leave fans of stories like Game of Thrones and others wanting more. But in it’s brevity lie its virtues, The Nightbreaker is a great read for an afternoon of leisure.
The descriptions that Jerome uses is rich and quite cinematic and I enjoyed the writing the most when details were delved into. The main character of Daniel is fun to read about, but begs to be developed further with some character-defining internal dialogue. The narrative is much more “show” rather than “tell” which I happen to enjoy. The story is often punctuated with a bit of action, which saves the stories pace and kept my interest.
With all of this considered, The Nightbreaker is a great introduction to the world of mortals and Gods that Jerome has created. The struggle between paladins, demons, and seraphs is a supernatural backdrop to classic fantasy tropes. This novella will please any reader of classic fantasy or the supernatural, who also enjoys action, redemption, and the struggle between good and evil. At 78 pages, it’s well worth your time.
Pages: 78 | ASIN: B071HPDQXN
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In The Impostor’s Trail, we find Sean Kruger living out his golden years when a culprit Kruger feels responsible for losing six years ago pops up on the radar. What were the driving ideas behind Sean Kruger’s development throughout the story?
The concept of the novel originated with a short story written in 2013 titled, The Forgotten Brother Affair. The short story was featured on my website for about a year. After I completed the second book in the series, I was looking for ideas for the next one. Keeping in mind Kruger retires at the end of The Assassin’s Trail, there had to be a compelling reason for him to get back in the game. The return of the only serial killer to elude him during his FBI career seemed appropriately compelling.
In this installment, we find Kruger torn between righting a mistake he made six years prior and keeping his family safe. Facing pressure from his wife to stay retired and fighting his own internal need to bring the killer to justice, Kruger embarks on a journey of self-discovery. This journey finds our hero dealing with the conflict of seeking revenge and righteousness. I won’t reveal any more of the plot, but his journey gets intense.
You do a great job with descriptions as usual. It’s easy for the reader to picture either characters or settings in their mind. What is your writing process like?
Thank you for the compliment. I read a lot, making note of how other authors describe their settings and characters. During the journey to improve my writing techniques, more than one book on the craft of writing was consumed. Without exception, they emphasize a good writer must read. Read as many books in the genre you write as possible. I continue to do this, and try to learn from the best.
The majority of the settings used in my novels are places I have lived near or visited during a period of time when I traveled extensively. For instance, JR’s building in the downtown area is a real place. While in college, I thought it would be a great place to live. Alas, I could not afford the rent as a student. As a writer, the process of describing locations is how I see them in my mind’s eye based on personal experience. If I need to utilize a place I have never been, Google Earth is a great tool.
Describing characters is different, in my opinion. How a reader envisions a character is influenced by two factors. How the character acts and hints the author offers in the novel. I am not sure anyone has noticed, but I have never given a clear description of what JR Diminski looks like. This was done on purpose. He is a computer geek. But he is also self-assured and able to handle himself in dangerous situations. Let the reader fill in the blanks.
I enjoy the large cast in this story. If Hollywood came knocking who would you cast as the leads?
An interesting question. I really have not given it much thought. However, there is one character in the story who is already cast. Joseph’s character is described as bearing a remarkable resemblance to the actor Morgan Freeman. He is one of my favorite actors with a remarkable body of work depicting a wide range of different characters.
The rest of the cast I’m not sure about. Kruger would need to be a tall individual with an air of quiet self-confidence, Liam Neeson, Hugh Jackman, or even Christian Bale come to mind. Kruger’s wife, Stephanie is a woman who survived and prospered in the cut-throat world of big corporations. She would need to be an actress who projects a strong will and intelligence. Someone like Natalie Portman or Jennifer Connolly perhaps. JR Diminski is a tough call, maybe Titus Welliver or maybe Daniel Day-Lewis.
If the opportunity ever materialized, I am sure I would have little say in the matter.
How long do you see the Sean Kruger series going for? When will the next book be available?
Right now, with The Impostor’s Trail finished, I am working on a stand-alone JR Diminski manuscript. My oldest son suggested doing one and several friends agreed. However, the next Sean Kruger book already has a concept written, which is my version of an outline. The working title is The Cold Trail. Of course, this is subject to change. But with luck, and a lot of early mornings, I hope to have it out late 2018.
As far as how far will I take the series? Good question. My best answer is when the ideas for a good story stop, the series will stop. As an Indie Author, I don’t have a staff of assistants sitting around thinking up plot ideas, it just me, myself and I. Plus I am not subject to the demands a traditional publisher puts on popular authors. I don’t want to be, what I call, a book factory. Traditional publishers make their money by publishing books. There are a number of very popular authors and some Indie Authors who publish two and in some cases three or more books a year. How is it possible? If you write full-time, maybe. But I am not sure the plots are well thought out.
So for now, I will continue to take my time with each book and strive to produce quality, well-edited manuscripts, possessing realistic character driven story lines.
Over the Indian Ocean a Malaysia Airline jumbo jet drops from radar. Three hundred twenty-seven souls disappear with it; a woman in Rockford, Illinois is brutally murdered. Unrelated news events? Retired FBI agent Sean Kruger doesn’t think so. He suspects it’s the work of serial killer Randolph Bishop.
Now a college professor, Kruger has tried to live with the mistake he made while investigating Bishop six years earlier. It looks as though the only man to elude him, in his twenty-five year tenure with the FBI, has returned to seek vengeance on those who forced the man to flee the country. With his family in danger, Kruger comes out of retirement to find Bishop’s trail. A trail that leads Sean to question his own humanity.
Randolph Bishop joins the ranks of fictional serial killers such as Hannibal Lecter, Patrick Bateman and Anton Chigurh in this tale of revenge and justice. The Impostor’s Trail will keep you turning pages late into the night.
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J A C S
A BOOK OF SHORT STORIES
GEORGE J. MARDO
JACS places people in hard or surprising situations and challenges the reader to accept when the characters do not follow a traditional arc. George Mardo writes in such a way that seeks to subvert the easy plot points and story lines most readers have been familiar with in most recent years. Typical of a short story collection JACS contains a variety of stories.
The first story, Jackpot, follows two older men who have a racehorse bestowed on them. The catch is that the horse has never entered a race and both men play the part but are surprised to find themselves happy when things do not go their way. The next is, Amy, where the reader follows a girl who has strange dreams and holds onto them. The story really gets underway when she tells her grandfather about them and he confesses to having the same dreams. Candera is a hard story to read, since it follows a nun that was sent to the Congo and her tribulations of being captured by terrorists, raped, and becoming pregnant. When forced to try, and send the child away to be adopted, Sister Candera refuses. The last, Sorrow Has No Opposite, is more of a short, fictional biography that follows a Iraqi boy named Boutros Suffady, who undergoes a horrific tragedy and eventually finds happiness in life that he thought he lost.
Mardo has a talent for needling into a character’s perspective and teasing out what emotional heart strings should be pulled for the reader. These stories on their face may sound overwrought or framed in such a way to be emotionally manipulative, as it would be usually expected but Mardo avoids this with clear heartfelt authenticity. If nothing else, the author captures the “slices of life” that some may take particular pleasure in.
Some of the stories tend to be stronger than others and that will depend on the reader who wishes to give this collection a chance. The stories would be considered more literary based on the more character focused stories and lack of any real genre conventions. These small narratives are not adrenaline bouncing thrillers, nor are they dark and mysterious mysteries or horrors. What these stories do capture is the grounded reality that all of us abide in and these experiences all these characters’ share are to enlarge our scope.
JACS is recommended to more mature readers who are seeking different experiences on the page. The stories provide a unique lens that the reader only dons for a short time but will be left wondering long after reaching the end.
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Legends of Perilisc is a collection of short stories created by Jesse Teller. This collection has eight different stories that all tie together along a timeline. While each story can stand alone there is a sense that it’s building up to something that we don’t get to in this book. Each title is subtitled with a phrase like “120,000 Years Before The Escape” (Teller p.7) and “Three Years Before The Escape” (Teller p. 197). While the preface lists the date as being after the Escape it offers no clue to who is escaping what. This leaves the author open to create many more books in this series. There is one character that reoccurs in most of the stories, Simon the Bard.
At first the beginning story sounds like a twist on the Greek Mythology stories from when the Gods battled for control of the world. While some of the names mentioned do link back to mythology, most of the characters are original to Jesse Teller. Their personalities and names differ from one story to the next. I think this lack of continuity is intentional and well done showing the different times and places in Perilisc. These stories are dark; they are not happy endings with moral lessons. It is a work of fantasy unlike anything I have come across. Each individual story tells of a quest, usually the quest is to find someone and kill them. Through these short stories you get so much detail though. The author does not waste words. Every line is important to character development, the action or setting.
Piecing together information from the different stories we learn more about Simon the Bard. He is the constant so far in the world created by Teller. He travels the word claiming to be a simple story teller, but is always in the right place at the right time to offer important information. He is immortal, and has magical powers but the reader does not discover just how deep those powers go.
As with any collection of short stories it can be frustrating to get small pieces of a story line and not see where they end up. Knowing that all these story lines interact building up to “the escape” is even more frustrating given the huge jumps in time. Chances are we may never know more about the characters we read about. One example is Konnon. His story is brief, we find out about his devastating childhood, his enslavement to an enchanted beast, and his revenge. His story takes place in one night, but we don’t know how this fits into the overall story line. It is just a good snap shot into the world and how it is developing through time.
Legends of Perilisc is a great collection for the reader looking for a fresh take on fantasy novels. It is not for the reader looking for a happy ending and a magical quest with elves and good wizards. This collection is dark, full of death and evil. Topics of patricide, cannibalism, adultery, rape and many more dark topics fill these stories. A good read with an open ending leaving the author free to continue this world and create many more stories to entertain and shock his readers.
Pages: 141 | ASIN: B01I7KD9O8
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Sorrows Heart by G. S. Scott is a dark fantasy novel with elements of horror weaved within. This haunting tale revolves around a young slave girl who is being tormented by a sadistic dark wizard. The wizard performs a multitude of experiments on the children he acquires, many of which perish during these experiments. Somehow The Girl manages to survive the experiments and become the Master’s most prized possession. She gains several new abilities including communicating with animals of the True Tree. But the question remains; will she able to survive and fulfill the dreams she dares to dream?
While this tale is short, it tells a great deal of story. The story is told through the viewpoint of the young girl and there is some content within the story some readers might find difficult to handle. Scott utilizes experience to build a realistic world, which is compelling and draws the readers in. Immediately readers wonder what the “Master” is doing to the children and what his end goal is. One cannot help but feel compassion for the children, even for the cook who strives to take care of them the best she could. When it comes to the Master, he is a character that is easy to hate. The descriptions of the horrible things the Master does to the children and The Girl are so vivid, there are points when it becomes difficult to read.
The Girl is an interesting character surrounded by mystery. While we see things through her viewpoint and understand things through her thoughts and feelings, we still know very little about her. Readers don’t even know her name, other than The Girl. There is something special and unique about her that enables her to be able to withstand the Master’s experiments and later torture. With the story being short, many things are left to the imagination, or hopefully wishing there will be more books after this one. There are moments where it seems the author plays with some psychological elements such as Stockholm Syndrome as the girl begins to wonder if the Master cares for her and begins to care for him.
This is not a happy uplifting tale. It is one that explores misery, despair, and pain. The few moments when it seems that The Girl might have some happiness, it is quickly snatched away from her and she endures more torment. The one moment she tries to defend herself, she is treated as an animal and punished harshly. Despite all the harshness she experiences in life, she is a strong and determined young woman. It’s evident that she will persevere and be able to escape the clutches of the dark Master.
There are many elements mentioned that causes interest and intrigue, and those being the Lord of Chaos and the True Tree. It is interesting how G.S. Scott can have the whole story revolve around the Master wanting to connect with the Lord of Chaos, but leave that as a complete mystery. It makes the reader crave more.
Pages: 162 | ASIN: B0134S38A8