Maggie Shelbador is a half-breed succubus with a heart. Though raised inside one of the worst whorehouses in the world, all she wants is to find one man who will love her despite what she is. She dreams of one day being free of her nightmarish life but fears no man will ever truly trust her.
The year is 3515 and most of the world has been destroyed by a combination of natural disasters and man’s neglect. The whole human race faces extinction. To survive, the leaders of the day approach demons for help, not understanding the high price they will be forced to pay. Normally bound by the summoner’s magic, the demons know Maggie is the key to giving them free access to Earth.
Daniel is a widower with a young son. He is out hunting one day when his settlement is attacked and his son abducted. He tracks them to House of Pain, not realizing a trap is being set for him. Though tortured, Daniel refuses to break when they try to force him to prostitute himself—until a beautiful blonde woman is brought into the room, her power stripping away his self-control.
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Hemlock, a city dedicated to pirates, slavery, and all forms of evil you can imagine. Hemlock is a port city located in Lorinth within the realm of Perilisc. The nation of Lorinth doesn’t have an easy life, there is always some evil waiting to destroy the inhabitants. What could make life worse for these people, vampires. Vampires are returning to the land with the intention of taking over all living creatures and turning them or killing them. They are souring the soil, killing the forest dwelling creatures and making it so the Ironwood’s, that could defeat them, die of sickness. Rayph must make hard choices fighting against his own personal beliefs and trusting those he would normally never trust in order to save the lives of the humans living in the nation.
Jesse Teller is a master of writing about the dark and disturbing side of humanity. While his novels are fantasy, most characters will take on a human form. People do not simply die in these novels, torture and gruesome deaths are the norm. Long drawn out torture, maiming bodies, rape, healing people just to torture them more, emotional and physical abuse, all are common place activities among even the “good guys” in the novels. I normally avoid novels with such dark themes, but Hemlock drew me in from the first chapter. Rayph seeks out alliances to wage his battle against the vampire leader Tristan. If you are looking for vampires that sparkle and are really good people at heart, this is not the vampire story for you, rather these are the real killing monsters that horror stories are written from. Teller does an amazing job describing their brutality and steamroller approach to taking over the land.
Another key aspect of Jesse Teller is his overall character development. If you follow all the novels of Perilisc you see many returning names and characters, sometimes it is hard to follow the timeline of where one book happens from another, but many of the characters are immortal or long lived making it plausible they could exist in so many apparently different timelines. A new character to Hemlock is Aaron the Marked. This character is so well developed you don’t know if you should love him or hate him. He has an insane devotion to his king, one that will not be stopped by anyone in his mission to be reunited. He looks like a young boy and is often misjudged by other characters until it is too late. Aaron is brutal, violent, a brilliant strategist, and probably a tad on the insane side. I wanted to keep reading just to see what he would do next, who would he take out, who would he form an alliance with just to make his way back to his King. It is this kind of character development that makes me want to keep reading despite all the gore and disturbing imagery I normally avoid.
Hemlock brought back many of my favorite characters like Smear, Dissonance, Trysliana and Saykobar, the introduction of the new characters kept things interesting. It wasn’t just a new plot, it was new personalities interacting and that makes the novel for me. I can look over a lot of the gore to focus on the relationships and interactions. The world of Perilisc is one of violence and death, the characters are memorable the setting vastly different from other fantasy worlds. This may be one of my favorites in the series because of its originality in all areas.
Pages: 361 | ASIN: B079SG8L1W
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A wave of crime grasped center stage at the beginning of the volcanic summer. The often abused by police, misused by society, shunned, and stereotyped patrons of the “hood” decided that their reparations would no longer be paid by the normal “Smash and grab”. Gun laws had changed. Stiffer penalties and mandatory time was a constant reminder whenever, The Felony Lane Gang clocked in. Blue collar crime was now at an all time low. White collar crime was their new way of life. Three siblings stormed into a world of destruction when the youngest known as Crackaboi decided to part ways with his modest upbringing. For the love of her baby brother Glory unknowingly stepped into a web of drugs and exotic entertainment. Tjohnnie, the oldest and the coldest felt a need to protect his siblings. After losing their parents to unfortunate circumstances, TJohnnie secretly led two lives. A college football player by day. A counterfeiter and money launderer for the Infamous Seminole Indian Tribe by night. Tired of the gruesome torture for hire jobs, Crackaboi teams up with a longtime friend and brutal killer Lil Turk. Together they mastermind the greatest heist in United States history. Surpassing Al Capone and Jon Gotti, the ruthless duo targeted every financial institution that was federally insured. Their lavish lifestyle enticed other potential members. Dodging the Feds, ducking the local authorities and slaughtering anyone who wandered down their path, they notoriously became known as, ” The Felony Lane Gang”. With crooked cops on their trail, the street rogues decide to take on one last heist. Crackaboi and Lil Turk burglarize a century old abandoned warehouse, in search of a quarter of million dollars supposedly stashed inside an old safe. They embark on a journey that leads to their beloved Glory, on life support fighting to stay alive. A bloody street-war against the Mexican Cartel Assassins and a trail of bodies that lead down a sea of destruction. With ties to the Illuminati and a billionaire oil tycoon, the double steel door safe tightly held secrets that would send chills through a psychopath’s spine.
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There is madness in the world that few can ever understand. What drives a person to get out of bed in the morning or take a life in the evening is different for every person. Steven Pajak carefully crafts a story for us that involve mindless torture; endless agony and that special breed of mental instability psychological thrillers enjoy so much. While Wolves Among Sheep is meant to be a book introducing Jack Monroe, a United States Deputy Marshal, it really focuses on the relationship between Jack’s brother Michael and unstable, disgruntled former employee Robert Elliott Lang. As readers we are roped into a fascinating situation where a single man seeks to completely destroy the life of another for reasons only he could possibly understand. With heart in throat and eyes glued to the page readers will want to desperately know the why and crumble when it’s finally revealed.
Pajak knows his craft well and is very good at describing the slow, torturous break down between Robert and Michael. Michael has the things that Robert wants and is seen to be the one who has denied our antagonist all that could have been his. Robert desperately needs help and the signs pointing to his devolution have been visible for a long time. Perhaps it’s because he’s just another name in the email directory or because he’s that difficult, creepy guy that no one really wants to befriend but the fact remains that Robert does not get the help he needs. Instead, he gets a target: a person whose life he can work towards crumbling as carefully as possible. We know quite early on in the tale that Robert is a man who is not below putting dead rats in cars and forwarding incriminating emails in order to destroy a relationship. We know all of this but the hypnotic destruction pulls the attention and causes us to question what we read.
If there were to be any areas where Pajak could improve it would be simple editing. There are a few spelling mistakes and words that are potentially mistyped. This is not Pajak’s first time at the rodeo so he knows how to write a good story. That is what makes the minute, yet noticeable, editorial issues stand out even more. Unless you’re extremely particular about these sorts of things they will not ruin the story for you, but they will be obvious.
Wolves Among Sheep takes its readers on a dangerously slippery trail. There are aspects of Robert’s behavior that seem almost normal; those small little tics that are easily over looked. While Jack is instrumental in hunting down Robert after he has successfully destroyed any semblance of a ‘normal’ life for Michael, the story truly revolves around our protagonist and antagonist. The tale would not be the same if Jack were not in it, however, so it is important to note that his existence is necessary to reach the conclusion Pajak came to.
Readers who enjoy a good psychological thriller along the lines of Dean Koontz and Stephen King will not be disappointed with the creepy tale Steven Pajak offers for consumption.
Pages: 220 | ASIN: B01LYY5ZJ1
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Chaste is the third book by Jesse Teller in the Tales from Perilisc. In Teller’s prior book, Legends of Perilisc the god Cor-lyn-ber is mentioned the father of Hope and Light; Chaste focuses on Cor-lyn-ber and his followers in the small town. The town of Chaste is a remote town dedicated to Cor-lyn-ber that has been overcome with a deep sickness. Five strangers to the town arrive and all their destinies take a turn. The book is dark and filled with detailed violence. It is not for someone looking for fairies and elves. The theme of rape, abuse and murder run though the whole book revealing a dark and sick society struggling to find the light again.
The main characters are Father Frank, Cheryl the barmaid and self-appointed watcher of the town, and the five strangers, Ambul, Ruther, Sai, Sob, and Trevonne. Cheryl watched her parents die, her mother and battle and her father murdered. They were the religious leaders for Cor-lyn-ber and Cheryl from that point on lost all faith in her god. The first half of the book is all about the devastation of the town, the murders of their children, the sickness and evil that penetrates the land and people. The reader learns little about the five strangers only getting pieces of their history bit by bit. Trevonne is wizardass in training, she arrives in the town of Chaste weak and sick. Sob, an assassin and thief has taken on the role of protector of her. Ruther appears to be the leader of their group with a no nonsense mentality. Ambul and Sai call themselves brothers but they are not related. Sai is known as the great swordsman and dreams of a woman each night where they continue their love saga from afar. Ambul is referred to as the gentlest and good man known to man. He is an innocent and pure of heart, with a secret past.
The five strangers arrive in the town right after the death of another child. They all feel there is a wrongness in the town. The first night there Sob is out looking for jewelry to steal and comes in contact with the killer of the children. She recognized there was something evil and not human from the start but wasn’t staying around to investigate further. Meanwhile, back at the tavern and inn Ambul goes missing after a fight with Sai. The fight was brought on out of nowhere, the towns sickness already infecting them with its poison. From here the story of finding their missing friend, discovering the source of the sickness and purging the town of the poison is told.
The story of Cheryl is key to the novel, and she goes through a drastic transformation. Like all major transformation in life hers is a hard story and she learns lessons of pride and sacrifice. She also learns just how much control the gods of Perilisc have over her life and that of the world around her. She learns that her destiny is set by them, not herself. She must face her past, and Cor-lyn-ber himself.
Overall this book is not for the reader looking for a happy ending fantasy novel. This is fantasy at its darkest. Abuse, demons, and torture are key themes and some are described in vivid detail. If you can get past all that, the story is one of transformation, overcoming evil and delivering justice.
Pages: 244 | ASIN: B01J0FVC9S
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Thing Bailiwick is a collection of short horror stories by the ever-talented Fawn Bonning who pulled no punches in the gathering of these works. Stretching from the horribly, “pus-filled” scenes of stomach-wrenching gore to the much lighter, yet psychologically damming sets and characters, Ms. Bonning did not hesitate to irrevocably leave the reader checking corners and under beds. Her mix of both psychological fear and physical torment coincide within these pages as a ghoul may live at peace within a swamp; the epitome of bliss.
Within this particular swamp, a word I have chosen to use affectionately, there can be found many ghouls and shadows. Containing 12 individual stories, some longer, some shorter, each and every one leaves the reader wondering what would happen next, and what in the world happened throughout! The sense of mystery one feels at the conclusion of each story is enough to drive one insane, not to mention the insanity gained from reading just one or two of these tales. From hell hounds to the trials and tribulations of a young boy, this collection of horror stories has some form of terror for everyone!
I would have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Thing Bailiwick; each story had its own bit of charm and personality to it. The various styles and settings used within the collection make it seem as if there were multiple authors involved, instead of just reading the works of one single artist. As minuscule a feature as that may seem, it was almost unhinging for me personally when multiple stories were read in one sitting or within a short amount of time. The reader was initially in one location learning about the personality of this character and their problems when suddenly you start another story and it is something completely different. Now, this wouldn’t be so unhinging if it wasn’t for the different types of language the author is able to use. It was definitely the changes in dialect and characters ways of speaking that provided me with the feeling of being lost within the book; a feeling I have found to be most fun to deal with within the confines of horror fiction.
While I had a lot of love for this collection and for the authors writing styles, I must admit that the previous mention of mystery at the end of these stories is done much more gracefully in some stories than others. I did find myself wondering what the author meant to imply after finishing two or three of the tales. It is obvious that the beginning of some of the stories foreshadow the endings, but I could not get a handle on some. It appeared that the author attempted to make some endings very deep and pensive in order to allow the reader to continue thinking about the story long after they’ve finished it. I love that angle, it works, and I respect it.
Ms. Bonning has an affinity for pulling the monsters, kicking and screaming, right out of the closet and forcing them into the light. She has taken the seemingly innocent and innocuous and made them into devils, and sorcerers, and anything else one may fear. This collection is phenomenal and I recommend it highly to those who have a taste for horror fiction and psychological trauma! A sure cure for hypersomnia, this collection will prevent you from ever sleeping again!
Pages: 452 | ASIN: B015EQAM02
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Sorrow’s Heart revolves around a young slave girl who is being tormented by a sadistic dark wizard. What was the inspiration for the dark wizard and the experiments he performs on the children?
Well, the Girl is a main character in a novel I’ve been working on for several years now. In that book, she, as an adult, is asked by a priest how she could talk to animals without being able to channel Chaos. Due to the story line in that book, I needed her to have some kind of affinity with Chaos, while at the same time hating the priests. So I decided that she’d been experimented on. As to why Ruddick, the priest, is driven to do the things he does … I’ll leave that up to my next book.
The story is told through the viewpoint of the young girl. How did you handle, not only writing from a young girls perspective, but one that is in dire distress?
Well, to be honest, that’s why it is written with a sense of distance. Beyond that I simply put myself in her place. She is someone who’s traumatized and treated as little more than a lab animal, yet she still yearns to live and fight on. It wasn’t easy, that’s for sure.
There is a lot of things that are not directly answered in the book. Was it your intention to leave so many mysteries in the story?
Yes, I wrote it from her perspective. It’s vague because she simply doesn’t know what’s going on and I felt that the mystery added to the sense of dread. Beyond that, at its heart it’s an origin story. I have more books with her as a driving force where we learn much more about her, her past, and her destiny.
Sorrow’s Heart explores misery, despair, and pain. Were there any parts of the story that were difficult to write?
Very much so. When I first created her I knew her back story, but actually having to write much of it, the pain, the torment, and of course the violation, made me cringe. I love her, and hated the thing that happen to her. I think that really helped.
Will there be a follow up novel to this story? If so, what aspects of the story will the next book cover?
There is a follow up in the works. It’s a monster of a book, well over two hundred thousand words, that I need to split into two and then go through the editing process. Because of this I wanted to have put something out there. Most people aren’t going to pick up something that big by someone they’ve never heard of before. I just finished the first draft of another book, a full length novel titled “Cleansed”, that I hope to have out by the summer, before I tackle the completion of the Girl’s follow up. I have a lot more stories in me that are all interrelated. I have a lot to tell. So if you enjoyed Sorrow’s Heart don’t worry, there is more on the way soon.
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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