Cover of Dial D for Deadman by Barry J Hutchison

Dial D for Deadman is a superbly executed hybrid: part noir detective novel, part paranormal mystery, part comedy. The action takes place on a popular interstellar crossroads called Parloo, in the gritty, downtrodden surface city known to its inhabitants as Down Here.

Our hero is Dan Deadman, deceased detective at large. Between ne’er-do-wells opening portals to the Malwhere, interdimensional amnesiacs, and a missing-persons case with an exceptionally gory twist, Dan quickly finds himself up to his eyeballs in trouble.

At times like this, he’d give his left nut to be a real detective. If he still had nuts.

Continue reading “Review: Dial D for Deadman”

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Weathered old building at a relay site. Photo by Nocturnal Lynx Photography

What follows is the first chapter of a new work in progress called Interference. It has yet to be seen whether this will wind up being a short story or something longer, but right now my money is on something longer.

  Content warning for brief references to torture and grievous bodily injury.

Kay’s treads just weren’t made for off-road travel. After nearly losing his balance and sliding back down a particularly rocky slope, the battered librarian climbed to his feet and took stock of his surroundings.

Rocky soil stretched up the rutted trail in front of him, framed on either side by scrubby alder and arctic birch. Ahead, over the shoulder of the hill, the antennas of a radio tower farm stretched into the cloudy sky. Kay removed a crushed alder leaf that had become caught in the hinge of his right elbow and allowed himself a moment to stare longingly at the antenna array, lost in its hypnotic song.

Continue reading “Interference, Chapter 1: Kay”

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Cover of Grounded: A Dragon's Tale by Gloria Piper

Grounded: A Dragon’s Tale follows a young dragon named Manycolors who has been burdened with the care of a flightless sibling. The narrative takes short breaks to focus on a human youth named Hote, who battles a mysterious illness as he works with the Watchers studying the dragons’ planet.

With its themes of misfit youngsters, youthful rebellion, and the looming threat of greedy poachers, I quickly formed suspicions regarding how the story might turn out. I’m thrilled to report that the author broke out of those tropes to create something unique, intriguing and unusual.

Continue reading “Grounded: A Dragon’s Tale Review”

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Welcome to the Holy City at Summer’s End. The border with the Otherworld is razor thin. Shadowfest is coming. Malevolent spirits and monsters roam. Dark forces are plotting to seize power. The past has come back to haunt Brona the Apothecary and Aurelian the Investigator. Revenge can be a double-edged sword, as Morven the Mage once discovered. And Death may be the least of their worries…

In Shadowfest, author D.J. Reid spins a clever murder mystery out of Celtic and Greco-Roman myth and folklore. It’s a delightfully complex tale, with endearingly well-rounded characters, hidden motives, eldritch magic, and mythical creatures galore.

Continue reading “Shadowfest: More Than Meets the Eye”

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Today on the author blog, Leland Lydecker reviews Trackers: A Post-Apocalyptic Survival Series by Nicholas Sansbury Smith.
Warning: contains spoilers.

As the title suggests, the Trackers series chronicles the struggles of the survivors of an apocalyptic event. That event is the detonation of several high-altitude EMPs over the contiguous United States. The attack is ostensibly retaliation for an ill-conceived mission which liberated the granddaughter of a US Senator from a North Korean prison camp.

Trackers begins with the inciting raid, then cuts to the day of the EMP strike. In regards to the science of the attack and how it might realistically be carried out, Sansbury Smith did his homework. Trackers contains one of the more believable end-of-the-world scenarios I’ve read.

The meat of the story concerns a gruesome murder mystery playing out at the same time as the attack and its aftermath. Compared to the stagnant fare of “the world is screwed and we’re trying to stay alive” that dominates the Post-Apocalyptic genre, this premise comes across as fresh and interesting. The rest of the novel, sadly, is more standard post-apocalyptic fare.

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